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Moroccan Messi Abdelilah Hafidi ends Raja Casablanca’s seven-year wait for title

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The domestic heavyweights have finally got their hands on the domestic crown following a frantic last day of the season 

Raja Casablanca have ended their seven-year wait for the Moroccan league title by pipping neighbours and fierce rivals Wydad Casablanca to the crown on the final day of the Botola season, thanks to a double by Abdelilah Hafidi.

Hafidi, nicknamed ‘The Moroccan Messi’, scored a 90th-minute winner for Raja against FAR Rabat to ensure they got their hands on the gold with almost the final kick of the season, having earlier netted the equaliser for Jamal Sellami’s side.

Only one point separated the two Casablanca giants heading into the last matchday, with both Casablanca clubs up against neighbours from the capital Rabat; Raja hosting FAR, while Wydad made the short trip to FUS Rabat.

Raja needed to match or better Wydad’s result in order to clinch the crown, having had two points whittled off their lead following recent back-t0-back draws against RSB Berkane and Mouloudia Oujda.

Raja fell behind, but after equalising just after the hour mark through Hafidi, they struggled to find the winner they so desperately needed to confirm the title.

Over in Rabat, Wydad managed to bounce back from going a goal down to take a 2-1 lead over FUS in the 88th minute, putting them into the driving seat heading into the final minutes of the campaign in light of Raja’s failure to breach FAR.

However, just as time appeared to be ebbing away for Raja, Hafidi stepped up to score his second goal of the evening—in the 90th minute—to end the Green Devils’ wait for the crown.

The title triumph is the 12th in their history—a first since 2013—and they overtake their opponents on the evening, FAR Rabat, into second place in the all-time Moroccan standings behind Wydad (20 titles).

Next up for the Casablanca duo will be a pair of Caf Champions League semi-finals next weekend, as Raja meet Egyptian giants Al-Ahly, and Wydad square off with the Red Devils’ Cairene rivals SC Zamalek.

With first and second-placed finishes in the Moroccan league table, Raja and Wydad will enter this season’s Caf Champions League, while RS Berkane qualify for the Caf Confederation Cup after finishing third.