Bruised Esperance de Tunis hosts Al Ahly for the Caf Champions League last showdown at Olympic Stadium – Rades, Tunisia Friday with all the glory at stake.
Club of the century Al Ahly won a controversial first leg 3-1 in Alexandria, Egypt last week as Caf introduced the VAR technology in the African game for the first time.
Three questionable penalties were dished out in the match, all confirmed by the VAR, with the hosts benefitting from two of them.
Caf has since accused the Algerian whistle-blower Mahdi Abid Charef of “refusing to use the VAR.”
Following fans trouble during the semi-finals return leg fixture between Esperance and Primeiro de Agosto at the Olympic stadium, authorities have greatly limited ticket sales for the big one.
As per Thursday, only 9000 tickets were put on sale with fans snapping them up almost immediately.
Tunisia interior ministry announced that 12,300 policemen will be deployed to provide security during the game following the ugly scenes from the Agosto match.
Esperance’s stand in coach Magdi Traoui is upbeat that they can turn tables on the eight-time champions and bag the Holy Grail of African football for the third time.
“We are ready to have a great game and overturn the first leg. We won’t be affected by the absence of Chamseddine Zhouadi and Frank Kom.
They are key players but we have good replacements in Chilane Chaalali and Fossini Coulibaly,” Magbi said.
The two clubs have clashed two times this season before the finals with Ahly winning 1-0 in Rades and drawing 0-0 in Cairo in the group stage.
Ahly’s coach Patrice Carteron will make do without forward Walid Azaro who was suspended for two games for deliberately tearing his shirt during the heated first leg encounter.
“All of us are focused in the game especially now that we are facing a tough opponent who has good players in every section.
Missing Azaro will not affect us. We have good a replacement in Marawan Mohsen and Salah Mohsen,” the Frenchman said.
Apart from bagging the $2.5 million prize money on offer, Patrice will also be hoping to join a list of managers who have won the biggest prize in African football twice with two different teams having tasted glory with TP Mazembe three years ago.
The match will kick-off at 10.00pm Kenyan time.
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