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Wihdat, Jazira kick off Stage 4 matches

By Aline Bannayan - Apr 15,2019 - Last updated at Apr 15,2019

AMMAN — Jazira play Syria’s Ittihad in Abu Dhabi on Monday, while Wihdat host Syria’s Jeish Tuesday in Stage 4 of the 16th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup — the second-tier Asian club competition.

Jazira now lead Group B after they beat Ittihad 4-0, while Wihdat lost the Group A lead and are now second after they lost 1-0 to Jeish. Wihdat earlier beat Jerusalem’s Quds 6-2 and Lebanon’s Nijmeh 1-0. Likewise, Jazira scored a vital 1-0 win over titleholders Kuwait Club and held Bahran’s Nijmeh 1-1. 

Before the return leg of the matches, Bahrain’s Malkieh lead Group C ahead of Lebanon’s Ahed in the group that also includes Oman’s Suweiq and Kuwait’s Qadissieh.

The top teams from the three competing west Asian groups in addition to the best second placed team will move to the semifinal round of the zone with the winner advancing to the eventual competition final against the East Asia champ.

Jordanian teams won the AFC Cup three times. Faisali won in 2005 and 2006 and Shabab Urdun won in 2007. Other Jordanian teams that participated 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.

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 also knocked out in 2017, 2016 and 2015, and Shabab Urdun in 2014.

Last season 2017/18, Jazira were eliminated from 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 and failed to reach the group stages of Asia’s elite club competition. Ramtha were eliminated by Tunisia’s Etoile Sportive Du Sahel in the preliminary round of the Arab Club Champions Cup. 

In 2017, Ahli played 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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