Wydad coach worries about Ahly's pressure on Ethiopian referee prior to Champions League final

Ahram Online , Saturday 10 Jun 2023

Morocco's Wydad coach Sven Vandenbroeck has expressed concern over Ahly's pressure on Ethiopian referee Bamlak Tessema ahead of the second leg of the CAF Champions League final.

Morocco s Wydad coach Sven Vandenbroeck
Morocco s Wydad coach Sven Vandenbroeck


The match will take place on Sunday at the Stade Mohammed V in Morocco, following Ahly's 2-1 win in the first leg at Cairo International Stadium last week.

The first leg saw Ahly's Swiss coach Marcel Koller criticizing the referees for controversial decisions that he claimed had a significant impact on the game.

Ahly players claimed a penalty in the first half after winger Hussein El Shahat was brought down in the area, and a red card for Yahia Attiat Allah in the second for deliberately handling the ball preventing Percy Tau and El Shahat to go clear on target. VAR remained silent on both occasions.

However, Vandenbroeck believes the refereeing was good, stating during a pre-game press conference on Saturday, "although we deserved a penalty against Ahly after pushing Ayoub El-Amloud."

Vandenbroeck also commented on Koller's concern over the appointment of retiring Ethiopian referee Bamlak Tessema for the second leg, confirming that he is an experienced referee.

"I think Ahly are working to put pressure on the referee of the second leg to influence his decisions, but I believe he will do well tomorrow because senior referees do not make mistakes, especially with the presence of the video technology," Vandenbroeck said.

The Belgian coach believes that the Moroccan fans will have a significant impact on the game, which will witness a change in his tactics. "The details in the match will change because there will be 60,000 spectators supporting the team in the stadium.

"In the away game we had to play defensively, but this will change when we play at home," he said.

Vandenbroeck mentioned that Zouhair El-Moutaraji is doubtful for the game, as he did not participate in training with the rest of the squad. However, he confirmed that all the other players are ready for the game.

"I am lucky to lead Wydad to reach the final after only weeks of taking charge, and we went through a difficult semi-final against a team that is considered the best in this edition, and I dream of winning the title, but we must work hard to achieve that," Vandenbroeck said.

The Egyptian giants are one step away from winning their 11th Champions League title in their 16th appearance in the finals of the continental tournament.

Meanwhile, defending champions Wydad, who beat Ahly in the 2022 final, will be on course to win their fourth title in their sixth appearance in the tournament's final.

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