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Jazira’s slim lead insecure

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 08,2017 - Last updated at Mar 08,2017

AMMAN  — Teams hope that the upcoming Week 16 will help shape standings in the Jordan Professional Football League kicking off on Thursday, after leading teams were all held to draws keeping Jazira’s one point lead over Wihdat and Faisali.

Jazira were held 1-1 by 10th-placed Sarih, and next play Hussein who were also held 1-1 by Sahab.

Wihdat were also held 1-1 by Ramtha and maintained second place ahead of their match with Manshieh. Both their match and Faisali’s match with That Ras were ruled by the Jordan Football Association without fans after repeated offences in the past season.

Faisali lost to Ahli 3-1 as Ahli moved to 7th before facing Shabab Urdun, who were held 0-0 by Manshieh, who are fourth.

Hussein are fifth after a 1-1 draw with Sahab who are now 9th while Baqa’a scored their first win 2-1 over That Ras but remained last. Ramtha are 6th and next play Sarih while Sahab take on Baqa’a with the bottom four fighting a heated battle this week, as the last two are in the relegation zone.

In Stage 2 matches of the 14th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup, Jordan Cup holders Ahli held Iraq’s Zawra 1-1 and league champs Wihdat held Bahrain’s Muharraq by the same score.

Manshieh who joined the pro league this season with Sahab have asserted themselves among the leading teams while former Jordan Cup champ That Ras are going through financial strains, and are now in the relegation zone together with Baqa’a, who are usually among the upper half of standings. Jazira’s Syrian professional Mardig Mardigian has maintained his scoring prowess and leads the top scorers list with 11 goals.

Wihdat who exited the Asian Champions League, are looking to win their fourth consecutive and 16th overall title, while Faisali have not won the league in the past four years and eyeing their 33rd record title.

Ahli won the first major competition on the 2016/17 football calendar, when they beat reigning league champs Wihdat 2-1 to win the 34th Super Cup. In the Jordan Football Association Shield — back on the calendar after four years — Shabab Urdun scored a major 5-1 win over Faisali. It was Shabab Urdun’s second Shield title after they first won in 2007. In the Jordan Cup, four teams had made it to the semis in which Wihdat will face Faisali, while Ramtha play Jazira on May 12 and 16 before playing the final on May 20.

Last season, Wihdat retained the title with Faisali, Ahli, Jazira and Shabab Urdun in top five spots. It was Wihdat’s third consecutive and 15th league title since they moved up to the league in 1975. Faisali beat Wihdat to clinch the Super Cup while it was Ahli, who after years in the backstage, beat Shabab Urdun to win their first Jordan Cup final.

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