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Faisali play in Beirut, Jazira host Riffa’ in AFC Cup

By Aline Bannayan - Feb 23,2020 - Last updated at Feb 23,2020

AMMAN — Both Jordanian teams are aiming for wins in the next round of matches in the 17th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup — the second-tier Asian club competition.

Jordan’s Faisali play Lebanon’s Ansar in Beirut. The Jordanian champs are second in Group B after holding Syria’s Wathba 0-0 in their first match, while Ansar are last after they lost 1-0 to Kuwait FC.

On the other hand, Jazira host Bahrain’s Riffa’ SC in Amman. The Jordanian team, who seem to be going through rough times financially and hoping to consolidate their line-up ahead of the current season, are now last in the Group C after they lost 1-0 to Oman’s Dhofar in their first match. Riffa’ are third in the group after they lost 2-1 to Kuwait’s Qaddissieh.

Twelve West Asian teams are playing in three groups with the top team from the each group in addition to the best second placed team advancing to the semifinal round of the zone and the winner advancing to the eventual competition final against the East Asia champ.

After an impressive local season, Jazira were close to winning the 2018/19 AFC Cup title last year, but they failed to make it to the competition final after they lost the West Asia zone final to Lebanon’s Ahed who eventually won the title. Wihdat were eliminated in the semis of the West Asia zone.

It’s been 13 years since Jordanian teams won the AFC Cup. Faisali won in 2005 and 2006 and Shabab Urdun won in 2007. Other Jordanian teams participating in previous editions include Ramtha, Hussein, That Ras and Ahli. Kuwait Club and the Iraqi Air Force Club are AFC Cup record winners having been crowned champs three times each.

Earlier this year, the continents’ leading competition — the AFC Champions League — saw Faisali eliminated by Kuwait Club in the preliminary round. Jordanian teams have never before made it past the ACL preliminary round. In the 2018 and 2019 editions, Faisali were knocked out, while Wihdat were knocked out in 2017, 2016 and 2015. Shabab Urdun were eliminated in 2014.

In Arab competitions, Shabab Urdun reached the Round of 16 of the Arab Club Champions Cup but were eliminated although they had ousted titleholders Tunisia’s Etoile Sportive Du Sahel in the preliminary round. 

As the local season kicked off, the Jordan Football Association Shield saw Wihdat beat Ramtha to win the title. Last season, Faisali were crowned Jordan Professional Football League champs and combined it with their 20th Jordan Cup title. Jazira were second and Wihdat third in the league. Wihdat beat Jazira to win the 36th Jordan Super Cup.

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