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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Morocco: Wydad cruise in Coupe du Trône, Raja and Berkane sneak through in extra time

All of Morocco’s teams engaged in CAF club competitions took part in the country’s cup competition, the Coupe du Trône, this week to catch up to the rest of the field. Wydad, Raja and RS Berkane all moved on to the Round of 16 but it was not easy for any of the teams with Raja in particular facing stiff opposition from lower league competition.

Reigning Botola Pro champions Wydad had a relatively easy time in their matchup on Tuesday against third-tier side Ittifaq Marrakech with a 4-1 victory but Ittifaq proved their mettle in the match’s early stages. After a handball allowed Wydad’s Yahya Jabrane to score a 3rd minute penalty, Ittifaq found an equalizer off a header from a free kick in the 14th minute. Despite creating several chances against the heavy favorites, Guy Mbenza put Wydad up for good with a calm finish in the 18th minute before goals from Ayoub El Amloud and Juvhel Tsoumou closed out the scoring for WAC.

Raja had a particularly difficult time against second-tier Kasba Tadla, needing extra time to progress past a team that currently sits in last place in the Botola 2. In the second half a Video Assistant Referee review confirmed a penalty kick for RCA but veteran midfielder Omar Arjoune saw his spot kick well saved by the Kasba Tadla keeper, and the hosts went on to maintain the scoreless draw at the end of regulation. However, a corner kick in the 110th minute in extra time created a header that was saved before Hamid Ahadad was on the doorstep to put in the rebound and the 2020-21 CAF Confederation Cup champions narrowly advanced.

RS Berkane had tougher competition in their match by facing a fellow Botola Pro side in Mouloudia Oujda, and the visitors jumped out to a lead just before halftime courtesy of an excellent finish from Youssouf Anouar. Soon after halftime an equalizer arrived from Charki El Bahri, who flicked in a free kick from out side. After the 90 minutes ended tied, El Bahri provided the winner just before the end of extra time after the Mouloudia goalkeeper failed to claim a free kick service from out wide and El Bahri’s header looped into the empty net.

Highlights from all three games are below.

Ittifaq Marrakech 1-4 Wydad AC

Kasba Tadla 0-1 Raja CA

RS Berkane 2-1 Mouloudia Oujda