Skipper Mohammed Aziz scored a penalty in either half as RS Berkane beat Hassania Agadir 2-1 in an all Moroccan semi-final in Rabat on Monday to book a second consecutive Total CAF Confederation Cup final slot.
Berkane who lost to Zamalek on penalties in last season’s final will now face the winner of the tie between Egypt’s Pyramids and Guinea’s Horoya in Sunday’s final.
The on-form Hassania who had lost only once in 12 Confederation Cup matches this season were eyeing a first-ever place in the final, but couldn’t conjure a comeback from a goal down.
In an eventful match, the opening half had its own fair share of drama.
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) made two crucial interventions for Berkane; first awarding them a penalty which they converted and late in the second half chalking off a goal they had scored.
Berkane were awarded a VAR penalty in the 20th minute which skipper Aziz stepped up and scored.
Iajour Mouhssine was hacked down in the box by Soufiane Bouftini, but the call was not immediately given by referee Jean-Jacques Ngambo. However, after discussion with the VAR officials and going to the pitchside monitor, the Congolese referee pointed to the spot and booked Bouftini for the challenge.
Aziz took responsibility and struck the ball to the bottom left and despite keeper Abderrahman El Houasli having a touch of the ball, the power was good enough to see the effort end inside the net.
However, HUSA drew level nine minutes later through Kimaoui who calmly slotted into the bottom left after controlling the ball at the edge of the six-yard box when Issoufou Dayo’s attempted clearance from a freekick fell on his path.
Berkane still enjoyed a spell of dominance despite HUSA coming back to tie the game. In the 37th minute The Orange Boys had a chance when Hamdi Laachir came off the end of a beautiful team play but his curling effort was well collected by the keeper.
Two minutes later, Berkane thought they had taken the lead when Mouhssine headed the ball into the net unmarked on the right, but the goal was chalked off after a lengthy VAR review.
Defender Dayo was adjudged to have been in an offside position when his initial header off an Omar Namsaoui freekick was saved by the keeper.
In the second half, Berkane was still on the front foot and just a minute and 46 seconds in, they should have been two up. Laachir went through on goal after a spirited sprint from the halfway line, but his eventual shot was finger-tipped over the bar for a corner by the keeper.
But, they got into the lead on the hour mark when Aziz scored his second penalty of the game after Amine Sadiki handled inside the box as he attempted to cut out a cross from the right.
HUSA gave the fight to try and come back from the single goal deficit, but they could not get their formula right in the final third with Berkane defending with purpose.