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Wihdat host Syria’s Wihdeh in AFC Cup

By Aline Bannayan - May 29,2017 - Last updated at May 29,2017

AMMAN —Wihdat host Syria’s Wihdeh on Tuesday in a last ditch effort to remain alive at the 14th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.

Wihdat went down to Wihdeh 4-1 in the first leg of the West Asia zone semifinals and now have an uphill battle in their match on home ground, as the former Jordanian champs are going through one of their most disappointing seasons in years. 

After winning all four major local competitions in past seasons, and following three successive years at the helm, Wihdat this year settled for third in the Jordan Professional Football League and failed to win even one of the other three major local competition titles.

The team’s coach, Adnan Hamad, resigned after their 2-0 defeat to Faisali in the Jordan Cup semis and Wihdat lost to Wihdeh 4-1 in the first leg.

The winner will face the team advancing from the all-Iraqi encounter of Air Force and Zawra’a who were held 0-0 in the other semifinal with the winners advancing to the West Asia final on September 11 and 29 to decide the West Asia zone’s champ.

The West Asia zone champ will face the winner from the rest of the Asian zones on November 4 to decide the AFC Cup titlist with prize money set at $1 million for the champion and $500,000 for the runner-up. 

Should Wihdat win the zonal championship, they stand a good chance of winning the AFC Cup, a feat that eluded them after it was previously won three times by Jordanian teams: Faisali won in 2005 and 2006, and Shabab Urdun won in 2007. 

Wihdat reached the AFC Cup West Asia zone semis after they topped grouped C while Ahli, who were representing Jordan in the AFC Cup for the first time, finished third in the Group A.

Locally, the 2016/17 season saw Faisali combine the league and Jordan Cup titles, while Ahli beat Wihdat 2-1 to win the 34th Super Cup and Shabab Urdun won the Jordan Football Association Shield.

 

It is Wihdat’s 10th time in the AFC Cup. Their ambitions of competing among top tier Asian teams were dashed early when they were eliminated from the preliminary round of 2017 AFC Asian Champions League (ACL). Jordanian teams have never before made it past the ACL preliminary round. Wihdat were knocked out in 2016 and 2015, while Shabab Urdun were eliminated in 2014.

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