(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN — Jordan's Salt was eliminated by Kuwait FC on Tuesday in the semifinals of the West Asia Zone Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.
Salt lost 2-0 to their hosts and three-time former champs, while Bahrain's Muharraq beat titleholders Lebanon's Al Ahed 3-0 to reach the zonal final of the second-tier Asian club competition.
The top team in each of the zone's three groups alongside the best second placed team moved on to the zonal semifinals.
Salt, who played their inaugural AFC Cup, had advanced after taking second spot in Group B matches which saw 2008 champions Bahrain's Muharraq and Salt tie in overall points.
Group C hosts Jordan's Faisali were knocked out of the event in the first round, while reigning AFC Cup titleholders, Lebanon's Al Ahed, qualified from Group A ahead of Syria's Wahda and Bahrain's Al Hidd.
In the 2020 AFC Cup, Faisali played alongside Jazira before the tournament was stopped with the COVID-19 pandemic halting regional and international sporting agendas.
Kuwait Club and the Iraqi Air Force Club are AFC Cup record winners having been crowned champs three times each. Faisali won the AFC Cup title in back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 and Shabab Urdun in 2007. Other Jordanian teams participating in previous editions include Wihdat, Ramtha, Hussein, That Ras and Ahli.
The 2021 AFC Cup is the 18th edition of the tournament. The winners will automatically qualify to the 2022 AFC Champions League, and will enter the qualifying play-offs if they have not qualified through their domestic performance.
Earlier this year, Wihdat played the continent's leading tournament — the AFC Champions League but were eliminated in the group stages after an impressive performance alongside Saudi Arabia's Nassr, Iran's Foolad and Qatar's Al Sadd to finish 3rd in Group D. Group leaders and top three second place finishers moved on to the knockout stage.
Wihdat became the first of the Kingdom's clubs to play in the round robin group stages of the AFC Champions League. None of the Kingdom's clubs have ever made it past the AFC Champions League preliminary round where Faisali played in 2020 and 2018; Wihdat in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019; while Shabab Urdun played in 2014.
Salt will now return to focus on the local agenda where they are among the top three in the Jordan Professional Football League and have advanced to the quarters of the Jordan Cup.
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