Al Ahly coach Patrice Carteron expresses trust in Ethiopian referees ahead of contest

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Ethiopian referee Bamlak Tessema will handle Friday’s Caf Champions League final, second leg, following a week of curiosity

Al Ahly coach Patrice Carteron is not much concerned about the referee, who will handle Friday's match at Stade Olympique de Rades, following the dramatic scenes where an Algerian referee, Mehdi Charef took centre stage with controversial calls in the first leg.

2018 Fifa World Cup referee Tessema will be the man in charge of the potentially stormy affair in Rades.

It would be the second match inside four games for Tessema to handle a game involving the Egyptians after he took charge of the semifinal, first leg against ES Setif in Cairo early last month.

Tessema would want to avoid the controversy that dogged his World Cup counterpart Charef during last Friday’s reverse fixture in which the Algerian awarded three penalties and appeared to struggle with the match despite consulting VAR.

But following the first leg’s dramatic scenes that saw Charef also miss Walid Azarou’s shirt-stripping incident, Al Ahly coach Carteron is not concerned about Friday’s whistleman, saying he respects the referees.

“I trust in the referees’ performance, we are now only concentrated on winning to lift the title despite the huge pressure,” Carteron was quoted by Kingfut as having said during the pre-match press conference.

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“We have many experienced players in our team, we know Esperance very well, it’s a big team we faced them twice in the group stage and in the first leg of the final, our only weapon is concentration to beat them.

“We are fully concentrated in preparation of the game especially that it’s going to take place on the field of a very strong opponent with great players in all positions. We were able to come out with a positive result in the first leg and we hope to do the same tomorrow.”

Al Ahly carry a 3-1 lead going into the return leg.

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