CAF act after referee attacked in Tunisia

2011-05-09 13:46

CAF disciplinary chiefs will hold an emergency meeting this week after an African Champions League fixture in Tunisia last Saturday was abandoned because of a crowd invasion.

Tunisian television showed a Club Africain player pushing Malian referee Komlan Coulibaly after a penalty appeal was rejected seven minutes from full-time in a third round game against Al-Hilal of Sudan.

Several hundred spectators then ran on to the pitch at the national stadium on the outskirts of Tunis and the match officials were kicked and punched as they tried to flee. The referee and one of his assistants could not get through the angry crowd and raced back to the pitch where security officials prevented further attacks on them.

Some spectators set fire to seats in a stadium which accommodates 60?000 and ranks among the most modern on the continent after being built for the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations.

This was the second fixture to be abandoned in the premier Pan-African club competition in as many months, and both involved 1991 Champions League winners Club Africain.

Zamalek of Egypt were booted out of the competition during April after a Cairo pitch invasion triggered by a late goal being ruled offside which deprived them of victory over Club Africain.

The Tunisians were fined for a minor pitch invasion when they hosted Zamalek in the first leg and now face expulsion while Hilal, who won the first leg 1-0 two weeks ago, are set to be awarded a group-phase place.

Spectators are barred from domestic football games in Tunisia – a country in upheaval since the ousting of long-time ruler Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali this year – but can attend African fixtures.

While Club Africain await the outcome of the CAF meeting in Cairo, bitter Tunis rivals Esperance were celebrating a comfortable passage to the next stage with a 1-0 win over Diaraf in Senegal.

Cameroonian midfielder Roger Toindouba scored the lone goal six minutes before half-time in a Dakar match of little significance as the “Blood and Gold” had built a five-goal first-leg advantage.

TP Mazembe, the Democratic Republic of Congo club with sights fixed on a record third consecutive title, left it late to eliminate Wydad Casablanca of Morocco via a 2-0 home victory.

Solitary-goal losers of the first leg, the Congolese, fluffed a penalty before Patou Kabangu broke the Lubumbashi deadlock on 75 minutes and Bedi Mbenza snatched the crucial second goal in stoppage time.

Wydad coach Fakhreddine Rajhi spent part of the second half watching from a Municipal Stadium stand after being shown a red card for persistently querying decisions of the match officials.

Al-Ahly of Egypt did not look like a team that has won the champions league a record six times as they battled to break down Zambian visitors Zesco United before Mohamed Barakat produced a 1-0 victory with the only goal of the tie.

Substitute Barakat struck midway through the second half when he combined with another long-serving stalwart, defender Wael Gomaa, to carve an opening and give goalkeeper Jacob Banda no chance.

Enyimba are the only Nigerian club to have won the competition and they secured a last-eight place thanks to a 1-0 home win over Al-Ittihad of Libya courtesy of a 70th-minute Victor Barnabas penalty. This tie was reduced to a single match because of the security situation in Libya and Ittihad now drop to the second-tier African Confederation Cup with the other seven champions league third round losers.

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