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Wihdat, Faisali aim for wins in AFC Cup

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 07,2016 - Last updated at Mar 07,2016

AMMAN — Jordan’s Wihdat and Faisali will play their stage two Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup on Tuesday with both teams aiming to come away with wins to boost their advanced positions in Groups A and B.

Wihdat will play an away match in Beirut against Lebanon’s Al Ahd in Group A and will seek to capitalise on their opening 2-0 win over Bahrain’s Hidd. Group A also includes Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr, who beat Al Ahd 2-0.

Wihdat officials hope the AFC will make up for elimination from the Asian Champions League — the premier Asian competition — where they lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia’s Ittihad Jeddah.

Head coach Raed Assaf said team morale was high after a 1-0 win over Faisali in the local league which secured the team’s position atop the standings. “We have taken part in the AFC Cup in the past eight editions. It’s time to add an Asian title to Wihdat’s achievements,” Assaf noted. 

In Amman, Faisali will host Iraq’s Naft Al Wasat in Group B after their opening 0-0 draw with Turkmenistan’s Istiklol Dushanbe. Group B also includes Lebanon’s Tripoli who lost to Naft Al Wasat 1-0.

A two-time AFC Cup winner, Faisali have had a good season locally and aim to return to the forefront of competitions this year.

The 14th AFC Cup has 40 clubs from across the continent competing in eight groups with the top two from each group going on to the Round of 16 when Round 1 ends on May 24. The second tier Asian club competition has been won three times by Jordanian teams: Faisali won titles in 2005 and 2006, and Shabab Urdun won in 2007.

This edition seems to bode well for Jordanian clubs to win back the title after record winning Kuwaiti teams were suspended by FIFA. Prize money includes $1 million for the champ, $500,000 for the runner-up, $40,000 for semifinalists, $25,000 for quarter-finalists and $15,000 for teams reaching the Round of 16.

Wihdat have been league champs for the past two seasons. This year, their fortunes have turned around as they conceded the season opening 33rd Super Cup to rivals Faisali. After elimination from the Jordan Cup, now they have only the league title in contention. 

 

In 2015, Jordanian teams were absent from advanced stages of Asian competitions as Wihdat and Jazira were knocked out of the AFC Cup Round of 16. While it was the first time for Jazira, who finished runner-up in the Jordan League and participated in the event after two-time AFC Cup champs and Faisali declined, Wihdat were hoping to advance and win the AFC Cup for the first time. In 2014, Jordan Cup champs That Ras exited the Round of 16 in their inaugural AFC participation while former AFC Cup champs Shabab Urdun exited in Round 1. 

 

Standings  (Group A)

 

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

Pts

Altyn Asyr

1

1

0

0

2

0

3

Wihdat

1

1

0

0

2

0

3

Hidd

1

0

0

1

0

2

0

Al Ahd

1

0

0

1

0

2

0

 

Standings  (Group B)

 

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

Pts

Naft Al Wasat

1

1

0

0

1

0

3

Faisali

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

Istiklol

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

Tripoli

1

0

0

1

0

1

0

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