CAIRO: Esperance’s goal against Ahly in the CAF Champions League semi finals was dubious but it definitely gave the Red Devils a dose of their own medicine, said Tunisian side assistant coach Maher Kanzari.
Mickael Eneramo flagrantly extended his arm while diving to poke home from point-blank range few seconds past the kickoff, to help the hosts win the game 1-0 and reach the final.
A fortnight ago Ahly beat Esperance 2-1 in the first leg of the CAF Champions League semi finals, a match that saw Mohamed Fadl hit the opener in a similar fashion.
Esperance guardian Wassim Naouara failed to handle a left-wing free kick from Ahmed Fathi as the ball struck the arm of Fadl, who was the quickest to react, and rolled into the net.
Eneramo’s goal in Sunday’s match might not be legitimate but the referee’s decision to allow it to sand is fair, Kanzari believes.
"The goal is greatly dubious but it’s fair," he told Egyptian radio. "If we canceled today’s goal and Ahly’s in Cairo, Esperance would still reach the final.
"We deserved to go through. Our performance in the first leg was the worst-ever and didn’t show our real capabilities."
Kanzari admitted that Mohamed Barakat’s dismissal paved the way for Esperance to win the two-legged tie.
"This is a major reason why we qualified for the final. Barakat is an influential figure and when he was sent off our mission became a lot easier," he added.
The mercurial midfielder was sent off on the half-hour mark after thumping Khaled Korbi in the face during a scuffle.
Speaking of Ahly’s formation, Kanzari said: "I was astonished to see our opponents deploy four defenders and six midfielders. It was a defensive strategy with no frontmen."
Geddo was fielded as a lone striker as the injuries of Francis Doe and Mohamed Talaat left Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri short of frontline options.
However, Al-Badri stressed ahead of the game that the Cairo outfit would produce an attacking display against Esperance.