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Wihdat, Jazira kick off Stage 5 matches

By Aline Bannayan - Apr 29,2019 - Last updated at Apr 29,2019

AMMAN — Wihdat plays Lebanon's Nijmeh in Beirut while Jazira hosts Bahrain's Najma on Tuesday in Stage Five of the 16th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.

Both Jordanian teams are in a good position to advance in the competition this season. In the last stage, Jazira beat Syria's Ittihad 2-0 while Wihdat were held 1-1 with Syria's Jeish. Jazira now leads Group B after they beat Ittihad 4-0, scored a 1-0  win over titleholders Kuwait Club and held Najma 1-1.

Wihdat lost the Group A lead and are now second after they lost 1-0 to  Jeish,  beat Jerusalem's Quds 6-2 and Nijmeh 1-0. 

Lebanon's Ahed lead Group C ahead of Kuwait's Qadissieh, Bahrain's Malkieh and Oman's Suweiq.

The top teams from the three competing west Asian groups, in addition to the best second place team, will move on to the semifinal round of the zone, with the winner advancing to the final against the east Asia champ.

It has been over 12 years since a Jordanian team has won the AFC Cup. Faisali won in 2005 and 2006, and Shabab Urdun in 2007. Other Jordanian teams participating in previous editions included Ramtha, Hussein, That Ras and Ahli.  Kuwait Club and the Iraqi Air Force Club are AFC Cup record winners having been crowned champions three times each.

The AFC Champions League — the continents' leading competition — saw reigning Jordan League champs Wihdat eliminated in the preliminary round by Kuwait Club. Jordanian teams have never before made it past the ACL preliminary round. In the 2017/18 edition, Faisali were knocked out, while Wihdat were knocked out in 2017, 2016 and 2015, and Shabab Urdun in 2014.

Last  season,  Jazira was eliminated from the AFC Cup west Asia zone final and failed to reach the continent's final while Faisali bowed out earlier in the event's semifinals.  In the AFC Champions League, Faisali was eliminated by Uzbekistan's Nasaf Qarshi in the preliminary round.  Ramtha was also eliminated by Tunisia's Etoile Sportive Du Sahel in the preliminary round of the Arab Club Champions Cup.  

In 2017, Ahli played in the AFC Cup for the first time and Wihdat reached the west Asia zone semifinals. Jordanian league champs Faisali finished runner-up to Tunisia's Tarajji in the 2017 Arab Clubs Champions Cup after an impressive performance which included two wins over Egyptian veterans Ahli.  

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