May 24 – The AFC Cup, the Asian Football Confederation’s club championship for its developing nations, has moved into the second round of matches in the AFC’s West zone where three groups are in action, one in Bahrain and two in Jordan.
In the three team Group A being hosted in Bahrain, local team Al Hidd begin play and face Syria’s Al Wahda, who opened their campaign with a draw. This the fifth time these teams have played each other with Al Hidd winning three times (L1).
Al Wahda have failed to win in their last four games in the AFC Cup (D1 L3) – their longest such run since 2015 (7 games without a win). Al Hidd have lost three of their last five games on home soil in the AFC Cup (W2), after they had avoided defeat in their first eight such games (W2 D6).
In Group B in Jordan, Bahrain’s Muharraq face Paelstine’s tournament debutants Markaz Balatah for the first time. Muharraq have faced Palestinian sides twice before in the AFC Cup, winning one and drawing the other of their two games against Ahli Khalil in 2016. No Bahraini side has ever lost against a Palestinian team in the AFC Cup (W1 D3).
In the other Group B, the Al Ansar from Lebanon meet Jordan’s Al Salt. Al Ansar have never beaten a Jordanian team in the AFC Cup (D1 L3).
Group C will also see an AFC Cup milestone with the first AFC Cup game between a Kuwaiti and Palestinian team. Kuwait SC have played 5 games in the Jordanian capital Amman in the AFC Cup, winning only once (D2 L2).
Kuwait had a disappointing opening to group play, conceding three goals against Syria’s Tishreen – the first time they conceded three goals in an AFC Cup game since 2013 (against Bahraini side Al Rifa’a).
Tishreen face Jordan’s Al Faisaly for the first time in the AFC Cup. After losing their first two encounters with Syrian teams in the AFC Cup, Al Faisaly have since not lost in six such games in the competition (W3 D3).
No Jordanian team has lost in their last five games when they hosted a Syrian team in the AFC Cup (W3 D2) and they have kept a clean sheet in their last three such games.
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