Al Faisaly lift AFC Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Two goals from Khaled Al Maaltaah helped Jordan's Al Faisaly beat Al Nejmeh of Lebanon 3-2, and 4-2 on aggregate, to win the 2005 AFC Cup.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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Two goals from Khaled Al Maaltaah helped Jordan's Al Faisaly beat Al Nejmeh of Lebanon 3-2, and 4-2 on aggregate, to win the 2005 AFC Cup in Beirut on Wednesday. Al Faisaly went into the game with a one goal lead, thanks to a first leg strike from Khaled Al Maaltaah, and the defender proved to be the match-winner for the visitors yet again. The Jordanians were quickly into their stride and they increased their aggregate lead to two goals when Al Maaltaah opened the scoring. Al Shboul threaded a beautiful pass through to Al Maaltaah in the 19th minute and the latter made no mistake, thumping a shot past substitute goalkeeper Abdu Tafeh, who had come in after regular custodian Wahid El Fattal was injured. Dangerous play Both teams were reduced to 10 men in the 24th minute when Haitham Al Shboul of Al Faisaly and Al Nejmeh's Hussein Dokmak were sent off by Saudi referee Khalil Ibrahim Al Ghamdi for dangerous play. The pressure piled up on Al Nejmeh, who are coached by Tunisian Omar Mezian, but they were back in the game when a foul on striker Ali Nassereddine inside the area in the 35th minute earned them a penalty. The spot kick was duly slotted home by Moussa Hajjaj and the teams went into half-time with the score 1-1 on the night and 2-1 in favour of Al Faisaly on aggregate. The visitors went in front again in the 59th minute. Al Maaltaah grabbed his second goal of the game when he soared high to connect with an inch-perfect cross from Al Sheikh, with Al Nejmeh's defence looking badly organised. Making amends The home team made amends in the 72nd minute after Nassereddine sent through Hajjaj, whose fierce left-footed shot from outside the area beat goalkeeper Loai Elmarieh. Inspired by the goal, Al Nejmeh poured forward for the equalizer, which would have restored overall parity. But this proved to be their undoing as a surprise counterattack two minutes from time caught the home side flatfooted. Al Sheikh saw the defence stretched and he managed to dance through before lobbing the ball over Tafeh to firmly settle the issue. It finished 3-2 in favour of Al Faisaly, who clinched the AFC Cup trophy courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate win. The trophy will reside in the West for the second consecutive year after Syrian outfit Al Jaish won it in 2004. (AP)

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