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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Wydad draw, Raja move to the top of Botola Pro with late winner

Raja Casablanca edged out Royal Army club ASFAR 3-2 on Sunday as rivals Wydad failed to find a goal in a scoreless draw, moving Raja into first place on the Botola Pro table for the time being with one more match played than Wydad. A three-match league winning streak despite playing four matches in ten days has the Green Eagles staying relevant in the title chase as the final third of the season approaches.

ASFAR only had few opportunities but made the most of them, putting Raja on the back foot by opening the scoring in the 28th minute. Poor marking by Raja on a corner kick allowed Mohamed Hrimat to sneak in and nod in a free header that left goalkeeper Anas Zniti with no chance. The hosts found a response towards the end of the half that gave them a bit of momentum. In the 42nd minute a chaotic scene in the ASFAR penalty area left bodies flying but Ben Malango was there in the end to put his finish into a goal vacated by the ASFAR keeper, who failed to collect a loose ball.

Raja looked to be in control when full back Abdelilah Madkour crossed for Soufiane Rahime, whose shot from just outside the penalty area disappointingly squeezed under keeper Ayoub Lakred. However, 19-year-old ASFAR sensation Reda Slim was taken down by Zniti as he snuck by the keeper and a penalty kick was awarded, which Slim dispatched to equalize in the 77th minute. Just when it seemed that ASFAR might steal a point on the road, Rahimi was sent in with only the goalkeeper to beat, rounding Lakred and leaving the keeper no choice but to trip him up. Mahmoud Benhalib left no doubt on his 89th minute spot kick and Raja obtained a valuable three points.

Wydad displayed an underwhelming effort on the road in a scoreless draw at FUS Rabat. The hosts had their chances to pull off the upset and deal The Reds their third loss of the season but failed to take advantage of early opportunities. In general the match was an uninspiring affair and the second half had few chances for either side.

Highlights of both matches featuring the Casablanca sides are below.

Raja Casablanca 3-2 FAR Rabat

FUS Rabat 0-0 Wydad Casablanca