Group A: Al Wehdat 2-0 Hilal Alquds Club
Amman: A brace from Bahaa Faisal sent Al Wehdat into the 2019 AFC Cup West Asia Zone Semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Hilal Alquds at King Abdullah II Stadium 0n Matchday Six of Group A on Tuesday.
Al Wehdat will play Lebanon Al Ahed FC , the Group C winners, in the two-leg semi-finals scheduled for June 17 and 24.
With a two-point advantage over their opponents, Al Wehdat came into the final Group A game needing just a draw to secure a place in the next stage. Only a win could do for Hilal Alquds, while Syria’s Al Jaish hoped for a draw as they faced Nejmeh in the other group game.
The game got on to a pacey start, with Al Wehdat dominating the early proceedings, but with clear-cut chances few and far between.
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Hilal Al Quds suffered a blow when midfielder Owais Yasin had to be stretchered off 18 minutes into the game, to be replaced by Sari Jadallah.
Everyone at King Abdullah II Stadium thought the home side had taken the lead in the 19th minute when Faisal’s head met Rajaei Ayed’s cross, but with the goal at his mercy, the Al Wehdat forward watched on as his header somehow ended up on the wrong side of the upright.
Al Wehdat continued to dominate, taking the game to their opponents. Victor Bindia fired wide from close range following Fadi Awad’s through pass and Hilal Al Quds goalkeeper Rami Hamada produced two impressive saves to deny Saeed Al Murjan then Hamza Al Dardour, all before the half-hour mark.
With 45 minutes gone in the two simultaneous Group A fixtures, Al Jaish were the biggest winners as they led Nejmeh 1-0 while Al Wehdat and Hilal Al Quds were both unable to find the back of the net.
Things quickly changed after the restart as the Palestinian defences finally yielded under the heavy Al Wehdat pressure.
From a set-piece out on the left flank, Ayed sent an in-swinging cross that was met by the head of Faisal who guided the ball into the far corner for his sixth goal of the campaign, closing the gap on the 2019 AFC Cup top scorer Bienve Maranon to three goals.
Faisal was not finished yet. The 23-year-old showed his striker instinct to put the game beyond doubt four minutes from time. A cross by Anas Hammad from the left wing slipped through the hands of Hamada into Faisal’s path and the forward applied the finish.
The result means Al Wehdat top the group with 13 points, while Al Jaish’s 2-2 draw against Nejmeh SC meant they finish second with 10 points, one point ahead of Hilal Al Quds in third place.
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