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Faisali aim to advance in Arab Clubs Championships

By Aline Bannayan - Aug 01,2017 - Last updated at Aug 01,2017

AMMAN — Faisali will play Egyptian giants Ahli on Wednesday in the semis of the Arab Clubs Championships with a hope of having a shot at the title after an impressive first round.

The other semifinal will see Morocco’s Rabat play Tunisia’s Tarraji on Thursday with the winners playing for the title on August 5.

Jordanian league and Cup champs Faisali topped Group A, after they beat the UAE’s Wihdeh 2-1 and scoring 1-0 wins over Algeria’s Hussein Dey and hosts Egypt’s champion Ahli. 

With 12 teams playing in three groups, Ahli finished best runner up, Group B was led by Morocco’s Rabat which included Egypt’s Zamalek, Saudi Arabia’s Nasser and Lebanon’s Ahed. Tunisia’s Tarraji topped Group C which included Sudan’s Marrikh, Saudi Arabia’s Hilal and Iraq’s Naft Al Wassat.

No Jordanian team has won the Arab Clubs title before, and Faisali were runner-up in 1996, 1999 and 2007 in the competition that kicked off in 1980 and had different competitions under five different editions. This year the winner will take home $2.5 million.

Faisali, twice winner of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup, did not compete on the Asian scene this year. They had an impressive local season and now hope to take a regional title home. The 2016/17 season competitions saw them combine the Jordan Professional Football League and Jordan Cup titles, while Ahli beat Wihdat to win the 34th Super Cup and Shabab Urdun won the Jordan Football Association Shield.

Wihdat were eliminated from the 14th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup semifinals as the former Jordanian champs went through one of their most disappointing seasons in years. After combining all four local competitions in past seasons, and following three successive years at the helm, Wihdat this year settled for third in the league and failed to win even one of the four local competition titles.

It was Wihdat’s 10th time in the AFC Cup while Ahli, who represented Jordan in the AFC Cup for the first time, were eliminated in the first round. The AFC Cup, as was previously won three times by Jordanian teams: Faisali won titles in 2005 and 2006 and Shabab Urdun won in 2007.

 

Wihdat’s 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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