West Asia Zonal Final - 1st Leg: Al Jazeera 0-1 Air Force Club
Amman: Hammadi Ahmed’s second-half strike was the difference as Air Force Club took home a valuable 1-0 win over Al Jazeera in the first leg of the 2018 AFC Cup West Asia Zonal final on Tuesday.
Chances were far and few between in the opening half; Mahmoud Al Mardi’s effort from the edge of the box was saved in two stages by Air Force Club goalkeeper Fahad Talib 10 minutes in.
Meanwhile, the visitors’ most dangerous chance of the half came in the 28th minute when Ibrahim Bayesh squared for skipper Ahmed, whose strike from an angle hit the side netting.
The pattern continued after the break, with the Jordanians enjoying marginally more possession. At the hour mark, the hosts had a golden chance after Ahmed Al Attar broke free on the left wing before crossing to the onrushing Ahmed Samir, but the Al Jazeera captain could not direct his header and watched in agony as his attempt went just wide.
It was the veteran Ahmed who finally broke the deadlock, finding the opener for Air Force Club in the 64th minute, receiving Mohammed Ali’s pass on the edge of the area, before finishing low on the turn with his left foot into the bottom corner for his fifth goal of the campaign.
The final minutes of the game saw end-to-end action as Al Jazeera threw everything at their opponents, desperately attempting to equalise, while Air Force Club looked to hit on the counter to cement their win.
There would be no further goals, however, as a one-two with Ali Yousif presented Amjad Radhi with a chance inside the box, but the forward uncharacteristically fluffed his lines, leaving goalkeeper Ahmed Nawwas with a simple save to make.
Air Force Club welcome Al Jazeera to Karbala in two weeks’ time with a significant advantage as they look to reach the AFC Cup final for the third year running.