The referee punches and kicks when the Moroccan club reaches the semi-finals of the CAF Cup

02 May 2022 | 08:29 | Football

Tunisian referee Sadeq al Salmi was punched and kicked after Moroccan club Renaissance Berkane reached the semi-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup at the weekend with a 1-0 win over Egyptian visitors Al Masry.

Youssef el Fahli converted the penalty in the seventh minute for the only goal of the quarter-final second leg and Berkane claimed a fiery away victory following a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Berkane will face Confederation Cup winner TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo on May 8 and 15 for a place in the final.

Masry technicians repeatedly complained about Al Salmi’s decisions at the Municipal Stadium in Berkane, the heart of the Moroccan citrus growing region in the northeast of the kingdom.

When the final whistle blew, the referee showed Egyptian players Farid Shawky and Mohamed Abdel Latif red cards.

Almost immediately, a Masry technician punched the referee in the face and kicked him in the body before security staff intervened.

A bad game was marred by prolonged periods of rest due to injury, angering Masry, who believes some are designed to waste time.

The first leg, which won 2-1 over Masry at Alexandria last weekend, was also a turbulent match when the two hosts, Amr Moussa and Elyes Jlassi, were sent off.

Berkane, who won the Africa equivalent of the UEFA Europa League in 2020 after finishing the previous season, has threatened to overtake Masry in the early stages.

In addition to El Fahli’s goal, a Charki el Bahri header hit the crossbar as Berkane exploited a weakness in the air in the heart of Masry’s defence.

This trend continued into the second half with Masry rarely threatening to equalize and take the lead.

Known as the ‘Orange Boys’, Berkane is coached by Florent Ibenge, an experienced former Democratic Republic of Congo coach.

Elsewhere, Al Ahly defeated Tripoli’s neighbor Al Ittihad 1-0 in the Libya derby in Benghazi to book a semi-final with Confederation Cup 2015 runner-up Orlando Pirates from South Africa.

The only goal of the two strikers came in the 19th minute of the first half on an artificial field in the East of the coastal city.

After Ittihad’s goalkeeper Muad Allafi pushed a long pass inside the box, Ayoub Ayed narrowly missed the post.

Ittihad had a chance to equalize after the first half, notably when Omar al Khouja was not marked as unable to connect with Abdulati Abbasi’s cross.