Pitso MosimaneGetty

Caf Champions League: ‘The red card helped us’ – Al Ahly’s Mosimane on Esperance win

Ilyes Chetti’s dismissal helped Al Ahly in Saturday’s Caf Champions League encounter versus Esperance, according to coach Pitso Mosimane.

The Algeria international was given his marching orders in the 36th minute after tripping Taher Mohamed in the penalty area.

Referee Sidi Alioum had waived off penalty appeals from Al Ahly players, but VAR replays adjudged that Chetti had fouled the forward in the danger area.

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Consequently, the left-back was sent off by the Cameroonian arbiter. That decision proved costly for the Tunisians who went on to lose 3-0 on the night as their dreams to qualify for the final were flattened.

In his post-match reaction, the South African tactician stated that the red card helped his team while lauding his men for putting up an eye-catching display.

“We didn't start the game very well. We were a little bit nervous and anxious. However, football is not about how you start, but it is about how to finish,” Mosimane told Al Ahly website.

“We have to be honest, the red card helped us. It happened early, and it was well deserved.

“I told the players and told you on Friday that it will be an open game. However, we managed to have the upper hand in both games.

“Esperance is a big team and we respect them a lot, but after conceding the first goal, the game was further complicated on them.
“Al Ahly put on a strong performance tonight and we managed to reach the CAF Champions League final. Also, I am so glad that reached the final with Al Ahly for the second consecutive year.”

“We feel good because we are in the final, but we have to be honest, we expected to be in the final,” he continued.

“Not only because we are a big team, but because we played to reach the final. We scored three goals against Mamelodi Sundowns, four against Esperance, and five goals against Wydad last year. We are a big team.”

The Red Devils will now square up against Kaizer Chiefs in the final as they hope to win their 10th Caf Champions League diadem.

However, Mosimane disclosed that the Glamour Boys will be approached with respect on July 17 in Casablanca.

“Kaizer Chiefs is one of the biggest teams in South Africa in terms of popularity and the club is bigger than Sundowns. They have a bigger support base than Sundowns,” he added.

“They are a good team, and you just have to respect them. They scored four goals against Simba but conceded three goals. It is not easy to describe them.”