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Week 9 Rumours

We head into the penultimate week with plenty to play for. No team has locked up a playoff spot yet and with four playoff hopefuls playing each other, we could have some promotions on Sunday. Here is a breakdown of the matchups for Sunday: 

Anatolia FC vs. Jerusalem FC (8:45PM on Field 4)

Anatolia FC
The Canaries scored a huge victory last week without their Captain and leading goal scorer in a 3-1 victory over Andalusia. Most teams would buckle under the pressure of playing without their leader but every man stepped up to deliver a solid outing. Candidate for most improved player, Muhammad Salman was phenomenal at the back and has been a rock for the Turks in recent weeks. Anatolia’s defense has significantly improved of late which has meant keeper Umair Sheikh has had more time to polish his boots while in goal. Kamil Lotia was promoted to center forward last week and responded with a goal to close out the match. We will have to wait for Captain Khilji’s decision on whether Mr.Purple boots will be a part of the backline this week. Anatolia have won two in a row and have a chance to move to the top of the table this week but it won’t come easy as they face current league leaders Jerusalem. Anatolia dominated their last matchup with JFC last time out as they pummeled them for seven goals. Taqi Ahmed faced his former club for the first time and admitted afterwards that he had never tried so hard in a match before. Jerusalem fans will remember those words as they face Anatolia again this weekend. Expect Anatolia to have a full squad this Sunday with Zain back from his England trip and Riaz Murad back from Pakistan. Fitness might be an issue for Riaz as he was constantly sending pictures of his immoderate meals to the rest of the squad. Anatolia have one of the toughest schedules to close out the season with Jerusalem this week and Hejaz in the final regular season game.

Jerusalem FC
Jerusalem FC are beginning to round into form at the right time. After two consecutive shutout victories, JFC moved back to the top of the table but will face a real test this week. Last week they set plenty of BISL records with 13 goals and 9 in a half. Omar Sheikh’s boot contributed five of goals to go along with two assists. Jerusalem have been a different squad since changing up their rotation a few weeks ago. GM Zahid Merchant has put his squad on a strict diet after many players showed up out of shape during the holiday break meanwhile the GM himself has been packing on the pounds to cover more of the net. Saqib Dadabhoy has shown he can still finish with four goals since moving up the pitch, finding instant chemistry with Omar. Shaheen Limbada and Umair Wasim have been moved to the back in an effort to be more physical and play as ball carriers from the back. Jerusalem will be without Raza Ali again this week as he visits the motherland until next week. Jerusalem have been dominate all season except for two lopsided losses where they have shown they can be exploited by pace up front. They were embarrassed the last time they faced Anatolia by a score of 7-2. The squad has a picture of Taqi Ahmed framed on their whatsapp group since Taqi called them out after their last match. JFC will be looking for redemption this Sunday and take a strangle hold of the number one seed.

Samarra FC vs. Andalusia FC (8:45PM on Field 3)

Samarra FC
The redblacks find themselves on the outside looking in on a playoff spot after two consecutive losses since being league leaders. Despite being tied for the fourth playoff spot and only one point back of third place, they hold a negative seven goal differential which makes this Sunday’s matchup critical. A loss for Samarra this Sunday along with a Hejaz victory would almost eliminate Samarra from the playoffs. However, a Samarra win would leap them into third place and drop their opponents Andalusia out of the playoffs (with Hejaz victory). Samarra management will be hoping for a full squad this week after they struggled last week with a shortened bench. Keeper Taha Iqbal has struggled as of late, allowing nine goals in his last two matches. Samarra has hired a goalkeeping coach, Mr. Yu Tube, to help Taha improve his butterfly stance. Samarra was the first team to figure out Andalusia and hand them their first loss back in week 4. They play a perfect counter attacking style that offsets the high-pressure approach of Andalusia. Samarra management will be hoping Numair Bari didn’t get lost in Cairo and will be available to lead the team again this Sunday.

Andalusia FC
The Spaniards have held top spot in the league for a total of four weeks but face the crossroads after a lackluster effort last week. Andalusia squandered a golden opportunity to lock up a playoff spot against a shorthanded Anatolia squad and came away with no points. They now find themselves one point up on a playoff spot with a match up against a Samarra squad that is snapping at their heels. A win would lock up a playoff spot, the first in their franchise history. However, a loss could drop them down all the way to fifth and have them chasing a playoff spot in the last week. Andalusia could still be without Zain Khan who still receives treatment on his injured ankle, the club hasn’t provided a timetable for his return. Andalusia like to play a low scoring game and have allowed the least amount of goals in the league. However, their lack of goal scoring and poor finishing has resulted in two goals in their last two matches. Ali Chaudhry is expected to be moved to his natural position up front with Junaid Mirza expected back. The clubs leading scorer Fahim Karamat generated interest at the trade deadline but the club decided to hang on to the young striker. Andalusia has been forced to use a substitute regularly since the break and will hoping all members put their travel schedules aside for the final playoff push.

Hejaz FC vs. Sham FC (9:45PM on Field 4)

Hejaz FC
The reigning champions moved into a playoff spot for the first time this season after a convincing 5-2 victory over a short benched Samarra last week. Hejaz got back to their goal scoring ways after being shut out by Andalusia a few weeks ago. The club is attributing the difference to Junaid Akram who was absent in their shutout loss but provided the spark last week in their victory. Hejaz for the first time since week one had a full complement of players on the bench. New additions Zain Malik and former defender of the year Maaz Mohiuddin found their place in the squad together at the back as defensive partners. Hejaz can firm up a spot in playoffs this Sunday with a victory and other results in their favour. That seems farfetched only a few weeks ago when Hejaz were sitting in last place. Los Blancos have really come together since then and have benefitting from improved play by their stud defenders Omar Adil and Asif ibn Rehana. Vocal leader A K finally returned last week for his first appearance of the second half and was visibly darker in complexion after an extended trip down under. The league is considering changing his profile picture to Vincent Kompany to match his new complexion. They face last place Sham this week who are coming off a disheartening loss and Hejaz will be looking to further add to their misery. They will expect nothing less than full points from this match as they push towards the final four.

Sham FC 
The Orangemen suffered their worst day on a soccer pitch last Sunday and team management is hoping ownership will quickly erase Jan 22nd from their memory banks. Sham hadn’t lost a match by more than two goals since week one of the season and have been in every match they have played. Despite a disappointing record, players have given full effort every week but the results haven’t been coming. Sham have lead in three matches this season and have multiple goal leads but they haven’t had the discipline to close out matches. No one could have expected the final score from last week and team management is urging players to regroup as they face their final two matches of the season. Sham have the ability to play spoiler against two teams fighting for the playoffs. They face Hejaz this Sunday who narrowly beat them out in week 4 after Sham led for majority of the match. Sham will be hoping midfielder Ahmad Alvi will be available and will bring some Paramount bread with him after his shift this Sunday. Sham need to change their style of play and focus more on their counters due to their lack of midfield play. They will be looking to finish off their season on a positive note starting this Sunday.

With big matchups this Sunday, every team will be hoping to have a full squad to book their ticket to the second season. It all begins at 8:45pm on Sunday.