Al-Wehdat SC vs Bengaluru FC :- ACL Preliminary round 2.
After making history by reaching the final of the AFC Cup last season, India’s champions Bengaluru FC will now be eyeing for qualification to the AFC Champions League 2017, Asia’s premier club competition that features clubs from top ranked teams like Japan, China, Korea Republic, Iran etc. The first hurdle on the road to the AFC Champions League 2017 is going to be Jordan’s Al-Wehdat SC. Indian clubs do not have a direct entry to the AFC Champions League. Rather, the Indian champion has to play in the Preliminary Rounds in order to qualify for the tournament’s group stage. No Indian club has ever made it to the Group Stage of the AFC Champions League. Mohun Bagan have been the best performers, reaching the Preliminary Round 2 in 2016, where they were handed a 6-0 thrashing by China’s Shandong Luneng who went on to reach the Quarterfinals of the tournament. This year, Bengaluru FC will participate in the Qualifying rounds and have also received a bye to the second round of qualifying. Bengaluru’s journey ahead will depend on their match against Jordan’s reigning Champions – Al-Wehdat SC. Know Al-Wehdat SC History of the club Al-Wehdat SC is a sports club that is based in Amman New Camp, which is a Palestine Refugee Camp, also known as Al- Wehdat. Nicknamed Al-Mared Al- Akhdar, or the Green Giants , it was founded in 1956 under the name Al-Wehdat Youth Center Al-Wehdat Sports Club in 1974 but was renamed to Al-Diffatain Sports Club for a period of two years i.e. from 1986 to 1988. Honours In the illustrious history of 61 years, Al-Wehdat SC have to their name a long list of achievements and honours. The current Jordan League champions have won the league title for a total of 15 times from 1980 to 2016. Apart from the league titles, Al-Wehdat have also won the Jordan FA Cup 10 times, the Jordan FA Shield 8 times and the Jordan Super Cup for 12 times, taking their total tally of trophies won to 45. Al-Wehdat have been the second most dominating clubs in the Jordan League after Al-Faisaly. Performances in Asia AFC Champions League: Al-Wehdat have not been able to Qualify for the group stage of the AFC Champions League. The closest they got to qualifying was last year when they were edged out by Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad in the Play-off round. AFC Cup: Al-Wehdat have made 9 appearances in the AFC Cup but have not been able to win the title. They have been to the Semi-Finals of the tournament on 3 occasions in 2006, 2007 and 2011. Stadium and Fans Al-Wehdat SC play their home matches at the King Abdullah II Stadium in Amman. This will be the venue for AFC Champions League Qualifiers clash between Bengaluru FC and Al-Wehdat. The stadium has a capacity of 13,000. Al-Wehdat have the largest number of fans in Jordan. The club’s home matches generally see a decent turnout and they gather support even away from home. Squad and Coaching Staff Al-Wehdat’s first team squad contains a good number of current and former senior national team players. Goalkeeper Amer Shafi, young forward Baha’ Faisal, experienced defender Mohammad Al-Dmeiri and veteran Abdallah Deep have all been part of the Jordan national squad during the FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifiers. The club’s coaching staff is lead by Head Coach Adnan Hamad, who took over the reins in 2016. Adnan has in past played for and coached his home country, Iraq. Adnan has also coached Jordan and Bahrain’s national sides and also guided Al-Faisaly to the 2006 AFC Cup triumph as their coach. Form The 2016-17 season of the Jordan Premier League is at its halfway mark and Al-Wehdat are currently sitting at the second spot, 1 point behind table leaders Al- Jazeera. So far, Al-Wehdat have accumulated 24 points from 11 matches, winning 7, drawing 3 and losing 1. In the last 5 matches, Al-Wehdat’s form has been – W W W W D Bengaluru FC have seen unprecedented success in the short span of 3 years. Two I-League titles, one Federation Cup and the best of them all, becoming the first Indian club to reach the AFC Cup final in 2016. Bengaluru FC would now be looking forward to qualify for the AFC Champions League, adding one more feather to their cap but to do so, they will have to beat the formidable Al-Wehdat that too in their home. BFC can create history by losing less then 6-0 but it is very difficult for a team which loses to Churchill. AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2017 – QUALIFYING ROUND 2 Al-Wehdat vs Bengaluru FC King Abdullah II Stadiumm, Amman, Jordan January 31, 2017 – 9:30 PM IST Broadcast: TBA