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Week 10 Rumours

The final week of the regular season is here. All playoff teams are a virtual lock barring a miracle for Samarra however none of the seeds are assured yet. All four teams in a playoff spot play each other this week in a tuneup for the playoffs. Here is a breakdown of the matchups for Sunday: 

Samarra FC vs. Sham FC (8:45PM on Field 4)

Samarra FC
Samarra FC lost their chance at the second season in a valiant effort against the league's best defense. They were charged with 4 goals while only depositing 2 of their own, but the match was closer than the score suggests. With player injections of Danish Khan and Khizer Shazad, the club made a lot of noise this season under the black banner. With continuous attacks from Numair Bari off the wing, the blacks kept the opposing goalie on his toes, registering 11 shots on goal. Their talisman Khizer was kept off the score sheet who is usually key to Samarra's conversion rate and may be the reason why they returned empty handed. With the exciting football the squad plays, their defense was not up to scratch as diva Umair Jabbar was unable to clot up a go to pairing with his defensive unit. Taha Iqbal had a rough season with an outburst of shots leaving him helpless to concede as often as he did, but when we look back at the blacks, what a show they put on at BSL. It's not over just yet as an Anatolian or Hejaz loss resulting in a 10 goal differential win could see them a glimpse at playoffs and the way Sham's been losing, it could be done. Samarra will need a New England Patriots type miracle on Sunday get back into the playoff picture. 

Sham FC
Sham FC are going through a dreadfully rough patch having lost again in another untidy affair. This time it was Hejaz making the mess with an 8-2 score line. Although it was better than the infamous 13-0 loss, it seems the Orangemen have lost the drive to exceed their opponents. With only 2 points on the season, we can see that there is not much to play for, but there are talks amongst reporters that GM Usman Aslam could be responsible for the unfathomable scores. Since his inception as GM, Usman was actively making corrupt remarks on how he could influence the extraordinary which is sparking attention of reporters who think he may have accepted bribes to skew player stats (only kidding). Sham is certainly a better team than the previous 2 matches suggest and the media is once again on top of it. Sham will play Samarra this week who could still make the playoffs if they win with a differential of 10 with favourable outcomes from other matches. All eyes will be on Usman’s Sham. Despite what is being said about Sham FC, the club will fight for their first win of the season to better their record for the history books. Sham’s elite will be upto the task and will have the authority to stop Samarra from the playoffs.

Anatolia FC vs. Hejaz FC (8:45PM on Field 3)

Anatolia FC
Anatolia FC will be disappointed for missing out on the top spot after their loss against league leaders Jerusalem. The absence of Nehad Shihab was once again felt on the pitch as his long-range presence was missing from the Anatolian offense. Though Anatolia got on the scoresheet first, the style they were implementing became too predictable as Jerusalem eliminated their technical short passing routine. Kamil Lotia made another appearance as the lone striker scoring 2 goals in 2 games as Zain Khilji dropped back into midfield. Zain also dropped into second on the stats sheet as Omar Sheikh surpassed him in the most points category. The defensive unit in the squad is still to be praised for keeping the game in reach as Jerusalem countered often after spells of ineffective possession. Although Anatolia has essentially qualified for playoffs, they will need the last game of the season to get their offense firing again. The canaries will be without Taher Mirza and Hamza Waheed this week causing another shuffle in positions seeing that a loss could drop them to 4th and force a semis matchup against Jerusalem. Anatolia has much to do against Hejaz who will look to steal 3rd spot from the mesh behind Umair Sheikh.

Hejaz FC
Hejaz FC have come from worse to great in such a short period of time and the greatness continued as they pummeled Sham 8-2 last week. Muhammad Shah has finally got his rhythm going recording 7 points in 2 games and crucially so as the playoffs approach. With the insertions of the Akram brothers, Junaid and Fawad, Hejaz are once again contenders and will try to keep the cup in their possession for a third time. The squad has seen so many changes this season that there was no time to apply the gel and let it dry in time for their matches. GM Ibrahim Sardar was forced to reside at the transfer market as injuries in his squad kept him and his manager duties at bay, but is now reaping the benefits as they practically clinch playoffs after a horrific start to the season. Among their signings was Maaz Mouiudin who is no stranger to danger with an expertise on defense, and with the form Omar Adil has been in, a potential playoff partnership is in the making. Rookie Zain Malik is also on the defensive shift, but is just there for comic relief but has his work cut out for him with the help of the veterans in the side. Hejaz will see Anatolia in their last game of season which could turn out to be who they play in the playoffs. This fixture will host many of the league superstars and will be a spectacle to watch.

Andalusia FC vs. Jerusalem FC (9:45PM on Field 4)

Andalusia FC
Andalusia FC force themselves back into 2nd place and create a slight chance at first after a confident win over Samarra. The club has made a total transformation from previous seasons and is now known for their resilient defense. Boasting the lowest goals against tally in the league, management knows that scoring 2 goals could be good enough for at least a draw. Although their offense has not been potent as of late, their stronghold in front of Junaid Mirza has stood sturdy and tall with the likes of Hassan Chaudhry and Shahrayar Khan. The Karamat Brothers Farhan and Fahim are on top form and a lot of credit goes to the policy changes implemented in the team by succeeding management. Zain Khan has been a vital player for the side, who will once again be questionable this week with an ankle problem. Imad Siraj is finally starting the find the goal in the depths of the season and hopefully for the playoffs while Ali Chaudhry went straight from goalie to striker to scoring 2 more goals for his club. Teams will try to avoid playing Andalusia as their style of play is quite dissimilar to what the league offers and their defensive capabilities could frustrate opposing forwards. The general public don’t feel they have what it takes to win it all but that could all change with a convincing victory in the final regular season game.

Jerusalem FC 
Jerusalem FC take first place to the bank after their crucial victory against the Anatolians last week. Their organization is the stem of their success, starting from goalkeeper to striker. Ever since Atif Mian began making appearances on defense, the blues have looked solid at back. Having a posture like Mohammed Variava means Jerusalem wins most 50/50 balls and the contrast of Mo and Atif is turning out the be a real rewarding defensive partnership. The versatility and experience of Shaheen Limbada was the difference in their previous match having scored the game winner and taking responsibility for ending Zain Khilji’s scoring streak. The man of the moment, Omar Sheikh has been instrumental to the side and deserves praise in getting his team where they are while toping the charts with most points in the league. The team also leads the league with most goals scored but critics say they don’t deserve that title which includes the 13-0 abomination. There is a general consensus that Jerusalem is the most balanced team and are the favorites for the title this season. Their regular season won’t end without another test from 2nd place Andalusia who could still finish top if they manage to beat the blues by 6 goals. The matchup will be a thriller especially being last match of the regular season.

Matches kick off at 8:45pm. See you there.