CAF Champions League: Yanga coach Manuel Gamondi claims robbery against Mamelodi Sundowns


CAF Champions League: Yanga coach Manuel Gamondi claims robbery against Mamelodi Sundowns

Festus Chuma 11:07 - 06.04.2024

Yanga's goal was disallowed by VAR in a contentious quarter-final match sparking widespread controversy and debate.

Young African SC coach Manuel Gamondi has unleashed a storm of criticism against the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system after a contentious decision ruled out what he and many fans believed was a legitimate goal during the second leg of the CAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mamelodi Sundowns.

The game, a nail-biting encounter held at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, ended in a goalless draw but not without controversy and drama.

In what was described as a moment of brilliance, Yanga's Aziz Ki appeared to have broken the deadlock, only for the goal to be disallowed by VAR for not crossing the line entirely. 

The decision has since sparked a flurry of debate and left Gamondi visibly frustrated and aggrieved, particularly as his team later fell to Sundowns in a tense penalty shootout, concluding 3-2 in favor of the South African champions.

"It’s impossible to fight with VAR, I think it’s very unfair what happened here. But if I speak here I’ll be sanctioned,” Gamondi expressed in a post-match interview with Mazola Molefe on SABC3. 

“Even Aziz Ki told me ‘coach, for my mother it was a goal’. The guys are distraught now because, honestly, to go out with one goal like that…,” he continued.

Gamondi did not mince words when it came to the perceived disparity in treatment between teams.

 "When you play against big teams like that, it’s unfair when it’s like that. What can I say? Only congratulations to my players, they fought. I think we deserved more because we created more chances than them," he stated.

The match itself was a testament to the Young Africans' resilience and tactical prowess, having held their own and created several clear chances against a team of Sundowns' caliber. 

"Sundowns only had a clear chance with the last free-kick, we create two-three clear chances. But football is like that, but it’s not good for African football what happened today," Gamondi added.

His closing remarks were a mix of disappointment and defiance.

“We play a big team, but unlucky. This big team doesn’t need the help from VAR. I’m very disappointed and I think all the supporters from Yanga, they must see. They did cheating against the country and this is very bad," he noted.

As Sundowns prepare for the final, having secured their spot against either ASEC Mimosas or Esperance, the controversy surrounding the semi-final clash continues to linger. 

For Young African SC and their supporters, the match will be remembered not just for the intense competition on the field but for a disputed decision that they feel unjustly robbed them of a victory.

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