Even though some of the group stages are yet to finish, the AFC Cup knockout stages begin later today with an all Jordanian tie between Al Jazeera and Al Faisaly.
It’s Impossible To Second Guess This Match
It is practically impossible to second guess which way this game will go as both sides sit level on forty-one points in their domestic league with a game remaining. Al Faisaly did hold a three-point lead over their opponents, that was until they fell to relegation-threatened Mansheyat 2-1 during the last matchday.
If you were to look at both sides in the group stages, Al Jazeera come out on top as they negotiated their way through without losing. On the other hand, Al Faisaly lost once but qualified much more comfortably. It’s a funny way that the world works.
Pedigree wise, Al Faisaly have much more of it than their hosts in this tournament as they were crowned champions back in 2005 and 2006, before finishing runners-up in 2007. Al Jazeera have had no such success.
A Tight Affair Is Predicted Between Al Jazeera & Al Faisaly
You can see this being a tight affair where neither side will want to blink first and it wouldn’t surprise me if that after two legs, penalties were used to decide who progresses to the next round.
By virtue of having a better home record, Al Jazeera are incredibly slight favourites and when you consider that they’ve only failed to win twice in thirteen home games, you can see why.
Al Faisaly’s away record is far from a disgrace as they’ve won four and lost two of their last six on the road. Nonetheless, how much of a psychological blow will their defeat to Mansheyat have on the former champions?
Quite how the bookies have come to the conclusion that Al Jazeera are favourites is somewhat of a mystery when you take into account that they both play at the same stadium…
Draws Rule Supreme
Previously, the draw rules supreme as the last twelve games have seen six draws, five Al Jazeera wins and just a single win for Al Faisaly. While that may seem like Al Jazeera have got the upper hand, none of those games were decided by more than one goal.
Furthermore, half of those games had a goal or less, with the grand total of four being the highest return we’ve seen.
What does this all mean? That’s the cries I can hear coming from the masses. The answer? I’ve not got a clue. History would suggest a 1-0 Al Jazeera win, however, football works in weird and wonderful ways so let’s just wait and see!
Until the next time.