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Wihdat aim to make up for AFC Champions League results

By Aline Bannayan - Apr 22,2021 - Last updated at Apr 22,2021

AMMAN — Leg 2 of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League resumes Friday with Wihdat trying to make up for their lacklustre Leg 1 results.

The Jordanian champions have a tough match on Friday against two-time champs Qatar's Al Sadd to whom they lost 3-1 in Leg 1. That followed a 1-0 loss to Iran's Foolad and a 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia's Nassr in Group D matches currently under way in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In other group results, Nassr upset Al Sadd 3-1, Al Sadd held Foolad 1-1 and Foolad held Nassr by the same score. Nassr now lead the group on goal difference ahead of Leg 2 matches following which group leaders and top three second place finishers will move on to the knockout stage.

Wihdat went into the continents' leading competition knowing full well they had an uphill battle against better prepared Asian sides with technical, financial and competitive prowess.

Head coach and former star Abdullah Abu Zam'eh did not underestimate his team's resolve, saying the team played well, but seemed to lack focus at the onset of their last match and lost the chance to capitalise on scoring chances, "otherwise things would have been different."

Jordanian league champions Wihdat are the first of the Kingdom's clubs to play in the round robin group stages of the AFC Champions League. None of the Kingdom's clubs have ever made it past the AFC Champions League preliminary round where Faisali played in 2020 and 2018, Wihdat in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019, and Shabab Urdun in 2014.

Wihdat are reigning Jordan Professional Football League champs and also won their 10th Jordan Football Association (JFA) Shield title last season leaving Faisali to win the 17th Jordan Super Cup, while the Jordan Cup was not held. 

This season started off with Wihdat beating Jazira to win the Jordan Super Cup a week after they lost to newcomers Jalil in the JFA Shield final. 

The 2021 AFC Champions League is the 40th edition of HYPERLINK "" \o "Asia"Asia's premier club HYPERLINK "" \o "Association football"football tournament organised by the AFC, and the 19th under the current HYPERLINK "" \o "AFC Champions League"AFC Champions League title. The current edition is the first to involve 40 teams during the group stage, up from the previous 32 teams. The winners of the tournament will automatically qualify for the HYPERLINK "" \o "2022 AFC Champions League"2022 AFC Champions League as well as the HYPERLINK "" \o "2021 FIFA Club World Cup"2021 FIFA Club World Cup in HYPERLINK "" \o "Japan"Japan.

The most successful clubs in the competition are Saudi Arabia's HYPERLINK "" \o "Al-Hilal FC"Hilal and South Korea's HYPERLINK "" \o "Pohang Steelers"Pohang Steelers with a total of three titles each. The HYPERLINK "" \o "2020 AFC Champions League"reigning champions are South Korea's HYPERLINK "" \o "Ulsan Hyundai FC"Ulsan Hyundai, who won the competition for the second time in 2020.

The second tier Asian competition — the AFC Cup — will see Jordan represented by Faisali and Salt. In 2020, Faisali played alongside Jazira, however, the tournament was later scrapped with the COVID-19 pandemic halting regional and international sporting agendas. 

Faisali won the AFC Cup title back-to-back in 2005 and 2006, and Shabab Urdun won in 2007. Other Jordanian teams participating in previous editions include Wihdat, Ramtha, Hussein, That Ras and Ahli.

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