USM Alger begin their Arab Champions Cup campaign with a trip to Iraq, where they will face Al Quwa Al Jawiya. The first leg of this first round encounter takes place in Karbala on August 8th, with kick-off at 5pm.
With the opposition relatively unknown to Algerians, we got some great insight from Soccer Iraq about USMA’s opponents:
Their manager is Radhi Shenaishil who used to play for them back in the day and he recently managed Iraq’s national team to the semi-final of the Asian Cup in 2015. They have a deadly front three of Amjad Radhi, Hammadi Ahmad and Emad Mohsin although recently they usually leave one of them on the bench instead of playing all three.
Emad is a promising young forward, quick, calm on the ball and a good finisher but for the past few months he has been struggling for form and only scored a few goals last season. Hammadi and Amjad are ageing but very experienced and always bag a lot of goals every season, both have more than 100 goals in the Iraqi League already in their careers. Amjad is very good in the air while Hammadi is best at being in the right place at the right time and scoring goals from inside the box.
They recently signed one of the best wingers in Iraq, Ali Husni, who is skilful and quick. Central midfield is probably their weakest point, although they do have some decent foreign players there. Their defence is statistically the second-best in the Iraqi League, and they have a very experienced backline.
Overall, Al Jawiya are one of the best four teams in Iraq. They won the league in the 2016/17 season and came second last year, but were unable to compete in the AFC Champions League due to licensing issues.