Controversial VAR penalties give Ahly Champions League final edge

“If the intention was to steer the title to a certain team, why do we tire ourselves out, and the fans travel, and dream of the title? We will not give up,” Chaabani said.

VAR was part of a Champions League final for the first time and referee Mehdi Charef twice used the system to rubber-stamp decisions.

Esperance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia made contact with Ahly striker Walid Azaro and the match official pointed to the spot before watching replays and confirming the penalty.

Cherifia correctly guessed the direction of the shot, but veteran Soliman struck it too hard and too high for the goalkeeper to have any chance.

The goal on 34 minutes gave the Cairo Red Devils a 1-0 half-time advantage that they doubled after 58 minutes through El Soulia.

Soliman was the creator this time, crossing the ball low into the heart of the goalmouth where El Soulia controlled it with his first touch, then poked it past Cherifia.

Rattled two-time champions Esperance clawed their way back into the game after 64 minutes via the only penalty of the three in which the match official did not use VAR.

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