Rabat — A new season is under way in Tunisia while FAR Rabat continue to dominate Moroccan football.
The Tunisian football championship kicked off its new season Saturday (November 10th) with a new format.
The new system consists of two groups of eight clubs. Each of the two groups clubs will play seven home and away matches, and then first and second place winners in each group will play in a mini-tournament consisting of three home and away matches.
In the opening round played Saturday, title holders Esperance Tunis beat Olympique Béja 2-1. Hosts Olympique Béja opened the score in the 9th minute with a goal by Chaddi Amri before Taraji's Houcine Ragued levelled the score in the 30th minute.
In the second half, Mejdi Traoui gave Esperance the lead in the 65th minute from a side free-kick.
The top match in the group, between Club Africain and CA Bizertin, ended in a goalless draw. The result was not up to the expectations of Club Africain fans or coach Nabil Kouki.
"I'm not happy with the result," Kouki said after the match. "However, we still have time to make it up and consolidate our position among the top teams."
In other matches, CS Sfaxien managed to return with a precious 2-0 win from an away match against Union Sportive Monastirienne (USM). The match's two goals were scored by Taha Yassine Khnissi.
Not far away from that, ES Sahel beat their guests CS Hammam-Lif 3-1. "We've scored a good result promising a good season although there are some shortcomings which we will certainly try to fix in the next days," ES Sahel coach Mondher Kbair said after the match.
For his part, CS Hammam-Lif coach Habib Majri said it was just the beginning of the season. "Several mistakes were made in this match, and we will try to avoid them in the next matches," he added.
FAR Rabat continue Botola winning streak
Meanwhile in Morocco, FAR Rabat maintained the lead in football premier league after beating guests KAC Kénitra 1-0 in round 7. FAR Rabat's Mehdi Naghmi scored the lone match goal in the 82nd.
"The match was very physical and witnessed strong competition between the two teams," FAR Rabat coach Rachid Taoussi said after the match. "My team knew how to win the match, but didn't put in the good performance they have been known for."
Meanwhile, CODM Meknes scored their first win of the season when they defeated OC Safi 2-0.
In another match, Olympique Khouribga drew 2-0 against Raja Béni Mellal (RBM).
Raja Casablanca suffered their first defeat this season when they lost 1-0 to Hassania Agadir. Khaled Lebhij scored the match's only goal in the 44th minute from the spot. With the win, HUSA climbed to 3rd place with 13 points, while Raja remained in 2nd.
In another match, Moghreb Fès beat guests FUS Rabat 1-0. Luiz Jeferson scored the match's only goal in the 60th minute from a penalty that the capital team protested against, saying it was illegal.
In other matchups, Moghreb Tetouan beat guests Wydad Fès 2-1, Wydad Casablanca beat Difaa El Jadida 1-0 and Chabab Rif al-Hoceima defeated their guests RSB Berkane 1-0.
ACS Ksar take pole position in Mauritania
Mauritanian teams began their Day 3 matches on Friday, after the round was delayed a week by the national team's aborted plan to compete in Mali.
In Nouakchott, ASC Ksar beat ASC Tidjikja 2-1. The three points they won brought Ksar to the top of the table with seven points and silenced their critics.
"This is an important win, because the team displayed great cohesion between the lines and above all a desire to win", commented Ksar manager Abou Ba (alias Giresse).
In Nouadhibou, CF Cansado crushed ASC Police 4-0. With the win, the Miners are now second in the table with five points and find themselves among the favourites for the title.
In Kiffa, Assaba secured their first win of the season against Imraguens de Nouadhibou. The 3-0 victory left them with five points.
In another game played on Saturday at the Stade Olympique in Nouakchott, ASC Ligwareb topped ASC Armee 1-0. ASC Armee remain with three points, while Ligwareb have five points. On Sunday, ASC Garde drew 2-2 with Zem Zem.
On Monday, last-placed ASAC Concorde will travel to Nouadhibou to take on ASC Kedia. Concorde have to win in order to stay in touch with the leaders and justify their status as favourites due to the wealth of talented players at their disposal.
Finally, the biggest clash of Day 3 will be Monday's game between FC Nouadhibou and the reigning champions FC Tevragh-Zeina.