WAC win big, Tunisians tumble in Maghreb football
By Mohamed Foily in Nouakchott, Mona Yahia in Tunis and Naoufel Cherkaoui in Rabat for Magharebia – 17/05/10
Triumphs, tight races and downfalls are the order of the day in Maghreb football. FC Cansado and T. Zeina are racing for the Mauritanian title, Wydad Casablanca are delighting fans with GNF1 glory, and in Tunisia, the big news is who's been relegated to the second division.
In Nouadhibou on Friday (May 14th), FC Cansado beat guests ASAC Concorde 2-0. Their first goal came in the 16th minute courtesy of Mohamed Takiyoullah Dena, and striker Seyade delivered their second in the 76th.
FC Cansado have 43 points and lead the league with just one day of play remaining. But their managers are anxious about their final match of the season, which will be played in Zouerate.
"Our match against ASC Kedia will be the toughest challenge," FC Cansado president Ely Lekhdeim, who put his players on the gruelling train ride to Zouerate a few days in advance, told Magharebia. "I want my players to be in the best possible condition."
The May 14th defeat put an end to the title hopes of ASAC Concorde, who have 37 only points.
In Nouakchott on May 14th, the other team in the hunt for the title, T. Zeina, thrashed the unfortunate Dar El Barka 7-0. With just 12 points, Dar El Barka will definitely be relegated to Division 2. T. Zeina had an easy time of it thanks to Alioune Galore, who came up with a hat-trick.
Despite this comfortable win, those in charge of the club are concerned about what will happen on the final day of play.
"FC Cansado will face ASC Kedia. Both teams have the same sponsor, the National Industrial and Mining Company, and therefore have shared interests," said Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, the club's chairperson. "Unlike FC Cansado, Kedia no longer have any hope of taking the title."
During their May 14th trip to Nouakchott, ASC Kedia lost 3-2 to Nasr Sebkha in a dull match that saw tensions between fans running high. Kedia have 33 points, while Nasr now have 32.
At the Stade de la Capitale in Nouakchott on May 15th, El Ahmedi went down 1-0 against FC Nouadhibou. This brought Nouadhibou up to fourth in the table with 33 points, while El Ahmedi still have 22.
At the Stade Olympique on May 15th, ASC Ksar drew 0-0 against Acast Teyarett. ASC Ksar now have 34 points, while Acast Teyarett have 20. Dar Naim, who are now certain of relegation to Division 2, were roundly beaten 2-1 by Mauritel. Dar Naim now have 9 points, while Mauritel have 28.
Elsewhere in the Maghreb, Wydad Casablanca won the GNF1 title by edging out guests FUS Rabat on May 15th in Casablanca in the final round of the 2009-2010 botola.
The Reds, who have seized the title the most times, won 1-0 at Mohammed V Stadium, courtesy of a goal scored by their star Mustapha Bidoudane in the 39th minute. With this win, WAC had 53 points.
Following the match, some Moroccan cities, together with Casablanca, witnessed major celebrations by WAC fans. Victory was all the sweeter because the Reds stole the championship from bitter rivals Raja Casablanca.
WAC were helped in winning the title when leaders Raja Casablanca, who had 51 points from the previous round, lost 1-0 in their final match against FAR Rabat on the same day. FAR Rabat striker Jawad Ouaddouch scored the only goal at the end of the match. The only way Raja could have won the title was to win that match.
In matches played May 14th, KAC crushed guests AS Salé 5-0. Rachid Bouraouass scored the first goal in the 17th minute, and his teammate Hicham Aroui tapped in the second at the end of the first half. Yassine Kourdi scored the third in the 49th minute, and Abdelmoula Berrabah added the fourth in the 77th minute, while Hicham Kharbouch netted the fifth at the end of the match.
In another match, OCK defeated guests KACM 2-1.
In other May 15th action, IZK drew 1-1 against guests Difaa El Jadida. Difaa El Jadida's Hakim Kernass scored the first goal of the match in the 37th minute, while Khaled Bekhouch scored the equaliser for IZK in the 85th from the spot.
Meanwhile, OC Safi defeated guests Moghreb Tétouan 2-0. Mehdi Namli scored the two goals in the 8th and 16th minutes.
Also on May 15th, MAS Fès lost 1-0 to Jeunesse Sportive El Massira. In another match, HUSA Agadir defeated guests Wydad Fès 3-1 on May 16th.
In Tunisia, meanwhile, the football premier league on May 15th revealed the list of teams that are relegated to the second professional division.
Four teams were threatened with relegation: Union Sportive Monastirienne, El Gawafel Sportives de Gafsa, ES Hammam-Sousse and AS Kasserine.
Following suspense and a hard-fought race, both ES Hammam-Sousse and EGSG guaranteed their places in the premier league. But USM and AS Kasserine saw their hopes dashed, ending the season in the 14th and 13th places following round 26 of the championship.
AS Marsa and AS Gabes will be promoted to the premier league next season to replace USM and AS Kasserine.
"In the final round of the championship, everything was possible. There are teams that stayed and others that were relegated. This is how football is. Moreover, the title can't be won by more than one team," said sports analyst Nizar Kanfir.
ES Hammam-Sousse scored a 2-1 win against Espérance, who won the title as of round 24. It was clear that Espérance didn't have much interest in playing seriously after easily stealing the championship from their closest rivals, Club Africain, who in turn defeated CS Hammam-Lif 2-1.
ES Hammam-Sousse's Redouane Jaouheri said: "The suspense remained up to the final moment. We were determined to win, and we finally managed to stay with the elite premier league."
ES Hammam-Sousse manager Abd Hai Attiri said after the match: "We had a glimpse of hope and we just clung to it. We played with a fighting spirit and we won."
Club Africain ended the season in second place with 50 points, which qualifies them to play in the African Champions League, together with Espérance, in the next season. Meanwhile, ES Sahel made third place with 46 points.
EGSG, who are now guaranteed a place in the premier league, defeated Stade Tunisien 2-0. EGSG are in 11th place with 28 points, while Stade Tunisien are in 5th place with 39 points.
In another match, AS Kasserine defeated ES Sahel 3-2, but the win didn't help them stay in the premier league after they shared 13th place with ES Hammam-Sousse.
In their turn, USM, who were relegated to the second division, drew 1-1 against CS Sfaxien. With this draw, they ended the season in the 14th and final place on the table. CS Sfaxien, meanwhile, are in 6th place with 37 points.
CA Bizertin closed out the season in 4th place with 40 points by beating ES Zarzis 2-1. Meanwhile, ES Zarzis ended the season in 10th place with 29 points.
Olympique Béja, who defeated JS Kairouanaise 2-1, ended the season in 7th place with 32 points, just one ahead of 8th-place holders JS Kairouanaise, who have 31 points.
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