Morocco’s Raja file complaint over ‘scandalous refereeing’ in Ahly clash

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Raja felt hard done by after Amr El-Sulaya gave Ahly a 13th-minute lead via a controversial penalty in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, which was held at Cairo’s Al-Salam Stadium.

Ahly were awarded the dubious penalty when a left-wing cross appeared to have struck the flailing arm of midfielder Mohamed Al Makahasi, with Congolese referee Jean Jacques Ndala pointing to the spot after watching a video replay.

However, further replays, which were only shown after Ndala had already made up his mind and gave Ahly the penalty, showed the ball bouncing off Al Makahasi’s knee before hitting his arm.

“Raja Club Athletic sends you this letter to protest … against the refereeing of Mr. Jean-Jaques Ndala and VAR referee Mehdi Abid Charef,” the club wrote in the letter it sent to CAF.

“The whole world witnessed a refereeing scandal that tarnished the reputation of African refereeing and caused serious harm to the concept of equality between the two teams and the interests of Raja Club Athletic.”

Raja then listed their grievances, which included what they described as the “imaginary penalty” as well as Ahly’s second goal, which was scored by winger Hussein El-Shahat on 23 minutes and which they believe should have been ruled out for offside.

“The VAR image communicated by the VAR referee to the main referee demonstrates extreme bad faith and a willingness to destroy the chances of our club at the start of the match,” Raja said of the penalty.

Raja will be hoping to overturn the first-leg deficit when they host reigning champions Ahly in the second leg in Casablanca on Friday.

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