To the wire in Algeria, Morocco
© AFP

The race for league honours in Morocco is now down to two unfamiliar names as defending champions Raja Casablanca lost their derby encounter, while in Algeria there are a possible six candidates as the season end approaches.  

Morocco Botola: Raja off the pace
Moghreb Tetouan and FUS Rabat are now in a two-team race for the title after winning at the weekend while third-placed Raja Casablanca lost their derby encounter to fall out of contention. Neither of the leaders have won the Moroccan championship before, ensuring there will be a historic finish after two successive home defeats have cost Raja a chance of retaining their title.

Big game: Wydad Casablanca’s delivered some redemption for a below-par season with a dramatic late victory against Raja. Despite there being only around 15,000 people in the cavernous Stade Mohamed V for the 112th derby due to spectator discontent, it was a dramatic match. Raja’s Ismail Belmallem had a penalty saved by Nadir Lamyaghri just before half-time. At the end of the contest, Abdelghani Mouaoui might have won it for Wydad before Mohcine Yajour took advantage of a superb through ball to eliminate Raja from the title race.
Headline-grabbers: Tetouan underlined their credentials for a first-ever title with an emphatic win away at bottom placed Khemisset - their third successive victory. Ahmed Jahouh opened the scoring inside the first 20 minutes and Zayd Karouch doubled it on the stroke of half-time with the third goal coming 11 minutes from time from Abdelkarim Benhania.

Kenya premier league: Bottom shocks top
Leaders AFC Leopards suffered a second defeat of the season, and the margin of the loss to Nairobi City Stars came as a shock. For Stars, the 3-0 triumph was only their second in 13 matches of this campaign and lifted them out of the relegation zone. Leopards still lead the league but now by just two points from defending champions Tusker FC, who won 4-2 away at Posta Rangers.

Big game: Leopards were large favourites, but nothing went their way from the start. Key defender Eric Masika limped off injured and then goalkeeper Patrick Matasi allowed Stars’ Ugandan import Dan Sserunkuma to grab a pair of second half goals, sandwiched around Boniface Onyango's tally.
Headline-grabbers: Jerry Santos scored twice in an inspirational showing for champions Tusker at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium as they had to come from behind after conceding an 18th-minute goal. Santos' first evened the score before the break as he headed home a free kick. He then converted a late penalty to make sure of the full haul of points.

Algeria Ligue 1: Six sides chasing
Six clubs still have a chance to win the title with three rounds left to play but pole position is now back with Entente Setif, who returned to winning ways by beating JS Kabylie. They lead USM Alger by one point with JSM Bejaia and defending champions ASO Chlef a further two points behind. There is also still a mathematical chance for Chabab Belouizdad and Widad Tlemcen, but they both dropped points in the latest round of matches.

Big game: Two goals in the space of five minutes in the second half saw Setif end a run of four league games without success. Mokhtar Benmoussa scored first and then Rachid Nadji, but when Salim Hanifi pulled one back in the 81st minute it made for a nervy finish. “We must now keep our nerve and remain calm,” Nadji told reporters after the game.
Headline-grabbers: Champions ASO Chlef produced evidence they have the capacity to launch a last-gasp bid to retain their title as they won at home to Tlemcen. Three goals in the last 10 minutes ensured they stayed in touch with the winners.

Zambia Super League: Three for the leaders
Leaders Zesco United remain a point ahead of Power Dynamos as both won 3-0 at the weekend. Dynamos move above Red Arrows into second place as the air force side were held 1-1 by Roan United, who have drawn five of their first seven matches of the season. Zesco were at newcomers Konkola Mine Police while Dynamos thrashed the bankers of Zanaco.

Big game: Dynamos had lost their unbeaten record in midweek in a surprise reversal, but they eased fan fears quickly thanks to a fifth-minute goal from Kennedy Mudenda and then a long-range free kick blasted home by defender Kamuzati Kabwe in the 40th minute. With 20 minutes left, the win was assured as Graven Chitalu headed home the third.
Headline-grabbers: Former Zambia national coach Patrick Phiri is back in the news after steering newly promoted Napsa Stars to a surprise win over his former club Nkana FC. Phiri won two league titles at Nkana but modestly tried to downplay the 2-1 win in Lusaka. Phiri had last been working in Tanzania before taking on the challenge of helping the newcomers.

Elsewhere
African champions Esperance drew away at US Monastir but still have a healthy eight point lead in Tunisia’s Ligue 1.

Simba SC beat rivals Young Africans 5-0 in the Dar-es-Salaam derby to move to within one point of winning the mainland Premier League in Tanzania.

TP Mazembe Englebert kept up their recent goal scoring deluge with a 6-0 win over Elima to go two points above V Club in DR Congo’s Division One.