By Fahd Chafik
Wydad Casablanca did just enough to claim the honorary title of GNF 1 winter champions on Saturday evening, snatching a 2-0 home win to Ittihad Touarga just as their city rivals Raja suffered a 2-0 defeat away to last season's runners-up Royal Armed Forces (FAR).
Wydad were ahead three minutes before the break when Ait Laârif's cross was steered into the net by striker Madihi, before Saidi doubled the lead ten minutes into the second half.
Earlier on Saturday, the FAR Gunners had thrashed Raja Casablanca in a cracking top match before a frenzied 30,000 crowd at Rabat's Moulay Abdallah Stadium.
The Casablanca side had the upper hand all through the first half, but could not find a way past keeper Jarmouni.
FAR's opener came against the run of play 15 minutes after the break as Youssef Kaddioui superbly sprung an offside trap to set up forward Ouaddouch who was facing an empty net.
Hassan Al Mouataz grabbed the second goal for the Gunners six minutes from time, taking advantage of Ajdou's right-hand-side neat assist.
“I'm really delighted at this victory. It was very hard, but my players just jumped at the occasion and proved their strong willingness,” said FAR manager M'hammed Fakher.
But Raja French trainer Henri Stanbouli saw things differently. “I can't hide my disappointment at the match, both at the level of performance and result. I was expecting an enthusiastic game, but unfortunately, it was characterized by unsteady rhythm and dangerous tackles,” said the Raja boss, who took over from his compatriot Alain Fiard just a few weeks ago.
The win moves FAR within four points of Wydad Casablanca who lead the Moroccan national league with 32 points.
On Sunday, AS Salé suffered another home defeat, only to move them to the bottom of the table, three minutes ahead of the basement side Kawkab Marrakech.
The Marrakchis were held 2-2 at home against a determined Chabab Mohammedia who twice came from behind to claim a precious point.
Fifth-placed Olympique Safi recorded their sixth draw of the season in a gratifying match before 12,000 exhilarated fans at Al Masira Stadium in Safi.
Chabab Massira maintained their fourth place in the GNF 1 standings as they beat Ittihad Khemisset 1-0 at home.
The encounters opposing CODM Meknes to Hassania Agadir and Ittihad Tangier to Olympique Khouribga were tied at 0-0.
Full Results of the GNF 1 - matches played at the weekend
FAR 2 - 0 Raja Casablanca
Wydad Casablanca 2 – 0 Ittihad Touarga
Olympique Safi 1 – 1 Moghreb Fez
Kawkab Marrakech 2 – 2 Chabab Mohammedia
CODM Meknes 0 – 0 Hassania Agadir
Chabab Massira 1 – 0 Ittihad Khemisset
Ittihad tangier 0 – 0 Olympique Khouribga
GNF 1 Standings
Wydad Casablanca 32
Raja Casablanca 26
Chabab Massira 24
Olympique Safi 21
CODM Meknes 21
Ittihad Touarga 20
Ittihad Khemisset 19
Chabab Mohammedia 19
Olympique Khouribga 18
Moghreb Fez 16
Hassania Agadir 15
AS Salé 15
Ittihad Tangier 14
Mouloudia Oujda 14
Kawkab Marrakech 12