Rapid Reaction: Pakistan 1 : 2 Palestine

Highlights (Thanks Amin)

Starting XI (3-5-2): Saidawi, Samer Hijazi, Ahmed Harbi, Mohammed Al-Masri, Khader Yousef, Murad Said, Houssam Wadi, Ismail Amour (Mohammed Jamal46′), Suleiman Obeid, Atef Abu Bilal (Ashraf Nu’man 46′), Mohammed Shatrit (Eyad Abugharqud 60′).
Goals: Atef Abu Bilal 24′, Houssam Wadi (p.) 29′

Recap: Palestine beat Pakistan with first half goals from Atef Abu Bilal (FK) and a Houssam Wadi Penalty. Later in the first half, Ahmed Harbi fouled a Pakistan player in the box to give Pakistan their lone goal. Despite, the modest scoreline, it was by all accounts, an easy game for Al-Fursan who retained a 100% record against the South Asian side. The second half saw Palestine go all out to extend their lead but were stymied by the keeper and the woodwork. In the last 10 minutes Palestine sat back and defended their lead comfortably happy to relegate the hosts to ineffective possession of the ball and half-chances at goal.

What it Means: Nothing. Other than the morale boost for our players ahead of the upcoming 2012 AFC Challenge Cup Qualifiers in Myanmar. FIFA will not recognize this match as an official friendly and has taken it off its website. Pakistan fielded its Olympic side while we fielded a side made up solely of WBPL-based players. Palestine maintain their 100% record over Pakistan.
Positives: For once, Palestine is dominating and not being dominated. It was obvious to the 5,000 at Punjab Stadium (hilariously and officially known the Gaddafi Sports Complex) that Palestine was the better team. You have to like that Palestine wasted no time in putting goals on the board, they were up 2-0 after 30 minutes of action.
Negatives: Giving up the penalty. It shows that this group of players isn’t as good without the likes of Jarun and Bahdari marshaling the back-line. Up by two goals and dominating Palestine should have never given the opposition a way back into the game. The players will not get away with this sort of mistake in a competitive match because they simply aren’t good enough to overcome self-inflicted mistakes. If we are unable to secure some of our players based abroad to bolster our defence I think we might be very vulnerable come the Challenge Cup Qualifiers.
What’s Next: Palestine will face Pakistan again, this time in Karachi, on Friday (March 4th). Kickoff is slated for 1400 GMT.

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