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Jazira have AFC Cup final in sight

Shabab Urdun aim to advance in Arab Champions Cup

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 30,2019 - Last updated at Sep 30,2019

AMMAN — Jazira play an away game in Beirut against Lebanon’s Ahed on Tuesday in Leg 2 of the final stage of the 16th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup West Asia zone.

Jazira were held to a 0-0 draw by Ahed in Amman last week. They now aim to win the Beirut match as the winner will move to play the East Asia champ for the AFC Cup final set for November 2.

The Jordanian team reached the zone’s final round in dramatic fashion. After losing Leg 1 of the semifinal 3-0 to Syria’s Jeish they reversed their fortune winning Leg 2 of 4-0 to qualify.

Similarly, Lebanon’s Ahed eliminated Wihdat, beating them 1-0 and drawing 0-0 to reach the final of the second-tier Asian club competition.

During this year’s AFC Cup, earlier round saw Jazira eliminating titleholders Kuwait Club in Group B to advance, while Wihdat ended Round 1 atop Group A as the top teams from the three competing west Asian groups (Wihdat, Jazira and Ahed) in addition to the best second placed team (Jeish) moved to the semifinal round of the zone with the winner advancing to the eventual competition final.

In the past 2017/18 season, Jazira lost in the AFC Cup West Asia zone final and failed to reach the continent’s final eventually won by the Iraqi Air Force Club for three consecutive seasons while Faisali bowed out earlier in the event’s semifinals. 

This season, Jazira finished runner-up in the Jordan Professional Football League as Faisali were crowned league champs and won the Jordan Cup as well. Wihdat finished third in the league and beat previous Jordan Cup champs Jazira to win the 36th Jordan Super Cup. 

It’s been over 12 years since Jordanian teams won the AFC Cup. Faisali won in 2005 and 2006, and Shabab Urdun in 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.

 

Arab Champions Cup

 

Meanwhile, Shabab Urdun now await the draw to determine their Round of 16 opponent after they eliminated holders Tunisia’s  in the Round of 32 of the Arab Champions Cup.

Against all expectations, Shabab Urdun won Leg 1 in Amman 2-1 and beat their hosts 1-0 in Tunisia, to advance to the Round of 16.

In 2017, Faisali played for the title of the elite Arab competition but lost to Tunisia’s Esperance Tunis (Tarraji) in the final, after they beat Egyptian giants Ahli twice on their way to the title-deciding match. 

No Jordanian team has won the competition that kicked off in 1980 and had different competitions under five different editions. Faisali were runners-up in 1996 and 2007.

After Faisali and Wihdat opted for the AFC Cup, this year Shabab Urdun represented Jordan at the event for the fifth time. In the past four times, they had never advanced past the preliminary round of 32.

The Arab Champions Cup is an annual competition organised by the Union of Arab Football Associations and contested by elite clubs from the Arab world, all of which are either winners or runners-up of their country’s league or cup competitions.

Founded in 1980, the tournament’s first ever champions were Iraqi giants Al Shorta while conpatritos Iraq’s Al Rasheed (Karkh) are the most successful club in the competition’s history, having won the tournament three times in the 1980s.

Saudi Arabian clubs won the title eight times and Tunisian clubs seven times.

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