25 February 2013

Tunisia: Taraji Lead Nation, Raja Top Botola

Tunis — Perennial champions Esperance Tunis again find themselves atop the standings in Tunisian football.

Esperance Tunis topped guests Olympique du Kef 4-1 on Sunday (February 24th) to maintain the lead in Tunisia's Ligue 1.

Taraji dominated the matchup but Kef were able to score through Amine Bin Fadhel in the 32nd minute. Striker Haythem Jouini did the lion's share of the work for Taraji, netting three of the team's four goals.

"We were able to control the whole game, despite the poor conditions where the match took place; the important thing is that we returned with the winning points," EST assistant coach Skander Kasri said after the match.

Kef coach Tarek Touhami said that "the experience of Esperance made all the difference".

"We are still in the middle of the tournament; we will work to win the next matches despite their difficulty, in order to stay in the competition," he added.

With the win, Esperance retained the league lead with 22 points, three points ahead of the next in line, Club Africain. CA stumbled at home against ES Zarzis and finished the game with a 1-1 draw.

In the same round, AS Marsa kept up their chance to remain among the top teams after a 3-1 win over JS Kairouan. AS Marsa occupy third place with 17 points, while JS Kairouan remain in fifth place with 13 points.

In other matches, CA Bizertin started winning again after a series of negative results. They posted a 2-nil victory over Olympic Beja. Meanwhile, CS Hammam-Lif incurred another loss, this time against CS Sfaxien. The 1-0 loss left them with ten points and in second to last place.

Raja Casablanca continue Botola domination

In Moroccan football action, Raja Casablanca kept their leadership position after a 2-1 win over Wydad Fes on Sunday.

Mouhcine Yajour opened scoring for the Green Eagles in the 48th minute. The guests scored a matching goal in the 80th minute, only for Abdelmajid Eddine to score the game winning goal four minutes later. The win leaves RCA with 39 points.

FAR Rabat are in second with 38 points after their 1-0 win against Difaa El Jadida. Salaheddine Aqqal netted the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute on a penalty kick.

COD Meknès lost their matchup against Wydad Casablanca, 1-0. Star Lys Mouithys netted the goal in 34th minute, propelling WAC to third place with 35 points.

Olympique Safi defeated Kenitra 2-0 at home. The goals were scored by Brahim Bahraoui in the 26th minute and Abdul Razzaq Hamadallah at the end of the match.

In other Botola action, Moghreb Fes topped Chabab Rif Al-Hoceima 4-1 at home. Olympique Khouribga drew with Renaissance Berkane while Hassania Agadir settled for a barren draw with Raja Beni Mellal.

FC Nouadhibou lead Mauritania league

Meanwhile in Mauritania, the country's football league marked the midway point in the season after Day 13 matches played out February 15th-16th.

The Mourabitounes are now preparing for their second round qualifier in the 2014 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN).

At the end of the action-packed first half of the season, FC Nouadhibou lead thanks to their superior consistency, while ASC Armée are in last place.

With a total of 30 points, the Oranges have managed to steal the limelight from all of their opponents. With greater consistency, they have been able to find their form at the right time and are racking up a string of victories.

Despite the departure of Almamy Traore, the team outperformed the rest in attack with 28 goals. Ksar (29 points) have had a good first half of the season and have played polished and efficient football. Despite the large amount of pressure on them, they have lined themselves up as serious contenders for the title.

ASC Tidjikdja (24 points) have slowly but surely turned things around after getting off to a disastrous start to the season with a revival in their fortunes towards the end of the first half.

For their part, ASAC Concorde (23 points) are undeniably suffering from internal problems which are jeopardising their status as favourites. Despite boasting some of the most talented players in the league, the team is undergoing constant changes.

Reigning champions FC T. Zeina (23 points) are gradually getting their act together after a tough start to the season. Birama Gueye's protégés are starting to string more and more wins together and are regaining their cohesion.

CF Cansado (20 points) have lost their sparkle at the end of a bumpy first half of the season. This year, the Miners have lost several home games - something not seen in previous years. One thing in their favour, however, is the blossoming talent of young Baguily, the top scorer so far with ten goals to his name.

The fortunes of the other SNIM club, ASC Kedia (15 points), have mirrored the strength of its team, which has been reduced by the departure of Sidi Moctar N'Diaye.

ASC Trarza (13 points), ASC Police (12 points) and ASC Garde (12 points) are bunched together just above the bottom few places in the table, which are currently occupied by Zem Zem (11 points), Assaba (10 points), Imraguens (9 points) and Armée (9 points).

All of these teams will now battle it out to avoid becoming the next two clubs to be relegated to Division 2.

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