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Wihdat take lead as league breaks for two weeks

By Aline Bannayan - Mar 18,2017 - Last updated at Mar 18,2017

AMMAN  — Wihdat took the lead atop the Jordan Professional Football League standings as teams headed into a short break, while the national team regrouped on Friday for the final phase of preparations for the Asian Cup qualifiers.

Wihdat scored an important 3-0 win over 4th placed Manshieh to take the lead from Jazira as week 16 concluded. Jazira dropped to second after they were held 1-1 with Hussein, while Faisali remained third after a 0-0 draw with That Ras.

Ramtha are fifth after beating Sarih 2-1, while Shabab Urdun are seventh after they beat Ahli 3-0 as the latter dropped to 8th. 

In the lower half of standings, Baqa’a moved from last to 10th after their second consecutive win. They beat 9th placed Sahab 3-1 as That Ras remained 11th joining Sarih who dropped to last in the relegation zone.

Wihdat need to capitalise on their league lead after they also had a successful week in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. They now lead Group C after beating Oman’s Saham 2-1. They earlier scored a 1-0 win over Lebanon’s Nijmeh and held Bahrain’s Muharraq 1-1.

Representing Jordan in the AFC Cup for the first time, Ahli are now third in Group A after they held Oman’s Suweiq 0-0. They earlier held Iraq’s Zawra 1-1 and lost their opening match 1-0 to Syria’s Jeish. 

This season, four teams are in the battle for the title. Joining the top three is Manshieh who joined the pro league this season alongside Sahab. Former Jordan Cup champ That Ras are going through financial strains and are now in the relegation zone. Baqa’a is up to 10th after they were usually among the upper half of standings.

Jazira’s Syrian pro Mardig Mardigian has maintained his scoring competency and leads the top scorers list with 12 goals, followed by Wihdat’s Munther Abu Amara with eight.

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 the 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 won their first Jordan Cup final.

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