AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo reached the Caf Confederation Cup final Wednesday with a 4-0 drubbing of Al Masry of Egypt, who staged a temporary second-half walk-off.
Masry players wrongly believed the third goal, scored by Jean-Marc Makusu on 75 minutes, was offside and walked to the sidelines, where they stayed for five minutes before play resumed.
Earlier in the second half of the semi-final second leg, Masry coach and Egyptian legend Hossam Hassan went on to the pitch and argued with the referee from the Seychelles.
In the two-leg final, Vita Club will face Raja Casablanca of Morocco, who defeated Enyimba FC of Nigeria 2-1 in north Africa later for a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Eddy Ngoyi scored two superb first-half goals in Kinshasa, one with his head and one with his left foot, to give the hosts a 2-0 half-time advantage.
Makusu killed the tie as a contest with his 10th Confederation Cup goal this season and Mukoko Batezadio completed the rout in stoppage time.
Amid the drama before a huge crowd in the 80,000-seat Stade des Martyrs, Vita Club were the superior side as they booked a first Confederation Cup final appearance.
While the outcome was not surprising after a 0-0 first-leg draw in Port Said 21 days ago, the winning margin was unexpectedly wide.
Masry went into the return game boasting a 13-match unbeaten record in the second-tier African club competition since a qualifying loss at Green Buffaloes of Zambia last February.
The Egyptians had high hopes of at least forcing a score draw and advancing to the final on the away-goals rule.
– Clearly onside –
But it took former African champions Vita Club only six minutes to break the deadlock as Ngoyi powerfully nodded a corner into the net.
And when the ball was passed back to him on 39 minutes, he unleashed a fierce shot from the edge of the box that flew into the bottom corner.
Clearly onside, Makusu continued playing while Masry defenders stood and protested, took the ball past goalkeeper Ahmed Abdelwahab and tapped it into the net.
Batezadio slammed a low shot into the corner from just inside the box and Vita Club will now prepare to face Raja on November 25 in Casablanca and on December 2 in Kinshasa.
The finalists know each other well with Vita Club winning 2-0 at home and drawing 0-0 away against Raja in the group stage.
In Casablanca, Enyimba centre-back Oladuntoye Isiaka gifted the opening goal of the second leg to Raja in first-half stoppage time and conceded a late own goal.
The Nigerian tamely gave possession to Zakaria Hadraf, wearing a mask to protect a pre-match facial injury, and the Moroccan rounded goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai to score.
As an uneventful second half limped to full-time, Isiaka allowed a cross slide off his boot into the net on 88 minutes to give Raja a 2-0 second-leg advantage.
Enyimba pulled one goal back almost immediately as substitute Abdulrahaman Bashir rifled the ball past goalkeeper Anas Zniti.
It was the first goal conceded at home in the Confederation Cup by the Raja shot-stopper for 550 minutes.
Enyimba were left to rue several wasted first-half chances, notably when Chinedu Udeagha fired straight at Zniti from close range.