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Wihdat lead league entering Week 13

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 10,2021 - Last updated at Aug 10,2021

AMMAN — Wihdat head into Week 13 with a three point lead in the 69th Jordan Professional Football League (Pro League).

After Faisali and Ramtha led the standings in most of Leg 1, teams seemed to refocus after ending Asian competitions as well as national team qualifiers with two titles remaining locally — the league and Jordan Cup.

Leaders Wihdat will play Ramtha, while Salt are second after they beat Shabab Urdun 2-1 and now play Jazira who led throughout last year’s league, but find themselves midway through the standings now. Ramtha are third after they beat Aqaba 2-0.

Faisali are fourth after an unexpected 2-1 loss to Sahab while Hussein have jumped into the top five with a 1-0 win over Ma’an. Aqaba and Baqa’a are in the relegation zone together with Sahab, who are one point away from Ma’an and Jalil.

The league has witnessed inconsistent performances, with the first half of the competition seeing matches being delayed as the national team went through 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Jordan was eliminated and now goes through another stage of qualifying to get to the 2023 Asian Cup.

So far in local competitions, a newcomer to the Pro League, relatively unknown Jalil, overcame Wihdat to win the 34th Jordan Football Association (JFA) Shield — the first of the season competitions. Wihdat jumped back to win their 14th Super Cup when they beat one-time winners Jazira in 38th Jordan Super Cup, the second title up for grabs in the 2021 football season.

Last season, Wihdat won their 17th league title while Jazira finished runner-up, leaving Ramtha third and former champs Faisali settled for fifth after Salt. Sarih dropped alongside eight-time league champ veterans Ahli after a disappointing season. Ahli, were relegated last decade, but came back to win the Jordan Cup in 2015 and played in the AFC. Jalil and Baqa’a joined the 12-club Pro League this year. Wihdat also won their 10th JFA Shield title. Faisali overcame Jazira to win their 17th Jordan Super Cup as the Jordan Cup was scrapped from the agenda for the first time since the competition kicked off in 1980.

Since the league kicked off in 1944 with only Faisali, Ahli, Urdun and Homenetmen competing, Faisali are 34-time record league champs while Wihdat won 17 times since they joined in 1980. Although Faisali are the all-time record titleholders, Wihdat’s record is quite impressive. After four years in the Pro League, they won their first title in 1980 and have gone on to win the majority of titles since then.

On the regional scene, Wihdat played Group D of the Asian Champions League, but was knocked out in the first round. In the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup, Salt, who played their inaugural AFC Cup, advanced to the semifinals of the West Asia Zone after taking second spot in Group B while Faisali were knocked out after finishing third in Group C. The top team in each of the zone’s three groups alongside the best second placed team moved on to the zonal semifinals before teams play the advanced inter zonal knockout stages and final of the second-tier Asian club competition. The zonal semifinals will be played in September when Salt play Kuwait FC and Lebanon’s Al Ahed face Bahrain’s Muharraq. 

In the 2020 AFC Cup, Faisali played alongside Jazira before the tournament was scrapped with the COVID-19 pandemic halting regional and international sporting agendas.

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