Group B: Al Ittihad 0-2 Al Jazeera
Abu Dhabi: Jordan's Al Jazeera defeated Al Ittihad of Syria 2-0 to open a three-point lead in Group B of the 2019 AFC Cup at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Monday.
The Jordanian side came into the match with seven points from three matches, having eased to a 4-0 win over Al Ittihad in the reverse fixture two weeks ago, a result that left the Syrians bottom of the group with one point going into Matchday Three.
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Al Jazeera wasted no time, taking the game to their opponents from the start and within 13 minutes they had found a perfect opportunity to take the lead.
Mohammed Tannous took possession of the ball at the halfway line and supplied a sublime through pass for Abdallah Al Attar who outpaced the Syrian defence and looked to round goalkeeper Muhanad Al Khiari who brought him down inside the box.
Defender Feras Shelbaieh stepped up and converted from the spot to put the visitors in an advantageous position early on.
Al Jazeera’s dominance throughout the opening half was rewarded with a second goal three minutes before the break through Noor Al Rawabdeh.
Once again it was Al Attar behind the goal. The number 19 advanced into space inside the Al Ittihad penalty box and applied a neat finish that beat goalkeeper Al Khiari but bounced back off the upright into the path of Al Rawabdeh who was left with a simple finish to make it 2-0.
Al Ittihad thought they had pulled one back instantly as skipper Mohamad Al Omari curled his free-kick into the top corner, but he was denied by a flying save from goalkeeper Ahmed Abdel-Sattar who tipped it behind to ensure his side take a two-goal lead into the break.
The second half continued in a similar fashion with the Jordanian side retaining the bulk of possession and threatening on several occasions.
Youngster Hamza Al Saifi came on for his AFC Cup debut at the hour-mark and within seven minutes he showed his quality, dribbling his way into a one-on-one situation, but the 19-year-old went for the spectacular and his outside-of-the-boot finish went begging.
Al Jazeera could seal the top spot and a place in the West Zonal semi-finals if they beat Al Najma on April 30. Meanwhile, Al Ittihad will play for little other than bragging rights when they face Kuwait SC on Matchday Five.