Battle heats up for Maghreb titles
By Monia Ghanmi in Tunis, Naoufel Cherkaoui in Rabat and Mohamed Foily Samba Vall in Nouakchott for Magharebia – 12/03/12
The 10th round of the Tunisian football league, which ended on Sunday (March 11th), was marked by a consistently strong performance of winning teams.
In their eighth victory this season, CA Bizertin defeated hosts US Monastir 2-0. CAB are now at the top of the league with 26 points, while USM are stuck in the 11th place with nine points.
The leaders are followed by Espérance Sportive de Tunis, who crushed Olympique Béja 3-1, in their sixth victory in a row. As such, second-ranking EST now boast 22 points, whereas their opponents have eight points and rank 12th.
"The encounter was tougher than we had anticipated," EST coach Michel Decastel commented after the game. "They were able to score against us at a critical juncture, but we managed to offset the results. We snatched a hard-won but precious victory, because every point counts at this time."
"The goal my team scored distracted them, as they were overwhelmed with joy," said OB coach Amor Dhib. "They slipped a number of times. But our performance was far better than the previous times, which is what matters most to us."
In Sousse, Étoile Sportive du Sahel sustained their second loss this week. The match against Avenir Sportif de la Marsa ended 1-0, with a lone goal by Bilel Messaoudi in the 61st minute through a penalty kick.
AS Marsa share second place with Espérance ST, with a total of 22 points. ESS place fourth, with 17 points.
The lowest-ranking team, Avenir Sportif de Gabès, managed to score their first victory. The team rose to 13th place by defeating Jeunesse Sportive Kairouanaise 2-0. JS Kairouan dropped to the 8th place, accompanied by Stade Tunisien, who tied 1-1 against Etoile Sportive de Beni Khalled.
OCK crush KAC
In their toughest encounter, Olympique Khouribga beat visitors KAC Kenitra 4-2 in Day 20 of GNF1 play.
Eric Obina scored Kenitra's first two goals in the 10th and 16th minutes. OCK then gained the upper hand, scoring four goals in a row. Lahcen Akhmiss scored in the 36th minute, Wissam El Baraka equalised in the 40th minute, while Youssef El Kadi and Samir Ait Bihi widened the gap.
Raja Casablanca on Sunday (March 11th) defeated hosts Club Omnisports De Meknès 1-0. Houssam Eddine Senhaji scored the lone goal in the 79th minute.
Meanwhile, Chabab Rif Hoceima defeated Ittihad Zemmouri Khemisset 3-1 at home.
In other matches, FUS Fabat on March 10th tied with hosts Moghreb Fes 1-1. As such, FUS hold on to the top of the Botola. Hassania Agadir and Olympique Safi played to a 1-1 draw, while Difaa El Jadida were defeated at the hands of Maghreb Tétouan 1-0. Wydad Casablanca crushed Jeunesse Sportive El Massira 2-0.
FAR Rabat on March 9th won over Wydad Fez 1-0.
Battle for Mauritania title intensifies
Day 15 of Mauritania's semi-pro league saw big upsets. ASAC Concorde on Saturday (March 10th) lost 0-2 to ASC Tidjikja, while Zem Zem drew against current leaders CF Cansado. As such, several teams are now vying for the title.
Tidjikja scored both of their goals in the first half. Despite some attempts by Ismail Diakite in the second half, ASAC lacked inspiration and never managed to produce the attacking football that is usually their trademark.
"This is a big win over one of the best teams in the league. I'm happy for my players, who followed orders by not giving their opponents any room for manoeuvre," Tidjikja manager Diop Babacar (alias N'Diobo) told reporters after the game.
This win leaves ASC Tidjikja with 27 points in the fifth place, while ASC Concorde are stuck with 29 points.
"It's a shame, but we won't give up hope of winning the title, even if it's becoming more and more difficult," said ASC manager Pape Seck.
In the other games, ASC Armée earned three points in their away victory against UC Lasa 3-2. ASC Kedia beat Entente 2-1 in Nouakchott. The March 9th derby between T. Zeina and ASC Ksar ended in a narrow 1-0 win for T. Zeina. Alioune N'Diaye scored the lone goal in the 42nd minute.
Zem Zem drew 2-2 against current leaders CF Cansado in an exciting match that drew a sizeable crowd. Mohamed Ali, Zem Zem's young captain, delighted fans with his expert technique and vision.
In Rosso, FC Nouadhibou easily beat visitors Ligwareb 3-0 thanks to two goals from the league's top scorer, Al Mamy Traore, who now has 10 goals under his belt this season. The victory brought the reigning champions within a point of the leaders as they now have 32 points.
The final game of Day 15 was played by Police against ASC Imraguens at the Stade Municipal in Nouadhibou. Police won 1-0, which enabled them to climb to the middle of the table with 19 points, while Imraguens have 14 points.
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