The Casablanca derby between Wydad and Raja is usually one of the best-attended matches in Morocco but there were swathes of empty terraces at Stade Mohammed V on Wednesday after fans of Wydad boycotted the match in protest at high ticket prices.
Raja, who were officially the home team for the clash at the stadium the two teams share, doubled the price of the cheapest tickets and club President Aziz El-Badraoui was dismissive of complaints.
“Whoever can’t afford the price of a ticket, or considers it expensive, should watch the match at home,” he said this week.
Wydad fan groups hit back at him on social media.
“The fact is that football is for the fans, it is neither reasonable nor acceptable to trade in the passion of the loyal fans and try to exploit them in the hope of filling coffers and pockets,” Wydad Ultras Winners 05 wrote on Facebook.
This was the first time that Wydad fans had elected not to attend a game against Raja, although previous matches between the clubs have been held without fans for disciplinary reasons.
Wydad fans also objected to the closure for repairs of part of the stadium usually allocated to them.
The match was no less controversial with the officials announcing eight minutes of stoppage time only for the referee to award Wydad a penalty 13 minutes after the end of regulation.
Ayman El-Hassouni scored from the spot to give Wydad a 2-2 draw with their rivals.
Referee Redouane Jiyed showed the red card to Raja’s Mohamed Boulacsout, who scored his team’s second goal, and an assistant coach for dissent after the final whistle.