An own goal from goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy and a Ben Malango strike earned Raja Club Athletic a 2-0 victory over last year’s beaten finalists Pyramids in Casablanca on Sunday as the Moroccan side cemented their hold on top spot in Group D.
Raja have moved to nine points from three matches retaining their 100pc record while Pyramids who went all the way to the final in their debut campaign last season were handed their first loss of the group phase.
The home side wrapped up the victory in the opening 23 minutes. They went ahead after 15 minutes when keeper Ekramy pushed Abdelilah Madkour’s spinning shot back into his own net as he dived to his left to try and pick out the effort.
Seven minutes later, the home side was 2-0 up when Malango struck a superb goal from inside the box on the volley after a failed clearance from Pyramids saw Mohsine Moutaouali head the ball into the Congolese forward’s path.
Before that, Pyramids had been on the offensive and had come close when Ramadhan Sobhy’s shot was cleared off the line while Islam Elsayed’s follow up on the rebound ended up in a wild shot which went over.
In the second half, Pyramids came back stronger and sought to get themselves back into the match. Two minutes after the restart Elsayed had a rasping shot saved by the keeper for a corner while in the 58th minute, Omar Haber had a shot on the outside of his foot go wide from inside the box.
In the final 25 minutes of the game, Pyramids went full attack with Gaber brought off for striker John Antwi. However, they could not find a way back into the match.
Elsewhere in Thies, Senegalese side Jaraaf picked up their first victory of the group phase when they beat Burkina Faso’s Salitas 2-0 at the Stade Lat-Dior.
First half goals from Albert Diene and Papa Paye handed the Senegalese side three vital points that took them to third in Group C with four points, same as second placed Etoile du Sahel who played to a barren draw with CS Sfaxien in the other group match in Rades.
In a game that was devoid of many scoring chances, Sfaxien retained their hold on top spot, just a point above second and third.
There were a few scoring chances in the second half, Ahmed Ben Ouannes having a shot inside the box saved for Etoile while Sfaxien’s Firas Chouat had a stunning header go inches wide off a freekick. In the final 10 minutes of the game, Sfaxien’s Alaa Ghram had a shot from the edge of the area clip the upright.
Group C looks tight with Sfaxien leading the pack on five points, one more than Etoile and Jaraaf, while Salitas is fourth with three points, with all doors kept open for the second round of games.