Palestine Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ramzi Saleh (C); Abu Saleh, Harbi, Al-Masri, Fares; Khader Youssef (Qasem), Musa Abujazr; Atef Abu Bilal (Amour), Obeid (Abugharqud), Nu’man; Keshkesh (Khaled Salem)
Goals: Ahmed Keshkesh 49′
Jamal Mahmoud tinkered with his squad making six changes to the starting lineup that faced the same opposition on Friday. The most notable change was Ramzi Saleh making his much anticipated return to the national team. There was also some tinkering that saw Abu Saleh and Harbi play the entire match as a right back and centreback, respectively. Further up the pitch Musa Abujazr was played as a pivote whilst Atef Abu Bilal, Ashraf Nu’man, Ahmed Keshkesh were also handed starts.
Both South Africa and Palestine seemed to benefit from the added days of practice and guidance under their respective managers. The first half saw fewer individual errors and better team play. South Africa was somewhat successful in imposing their will and preferred pace on the game- it was during this spell that they grabbed their goal. Palestine put two chances off the post and had many chances to win this game but in the end couldn’t capitalize.
Not the prettiest goal- but a heads up play, goals are goals after all. It’s important that Keshkesh show his value to the team- this marks his first goal since the unofficial friendly vs. FC Brussels in April 2009. Keshkesh is part of a team in crisis at Al-Am’ary so his call-up came as a surprise. He’ll have to do more to seat the incumbent striker- Murad Alyan but this goal didn’t hurt. It will be interesting to see how Keshkesh will be used going forward because he (and Attal for that matter) struggle as lone forwards- Palestine looked more menacing up front when Khaled Salem came on.
A very harsh call but I don’t blame the referee. In fact, I think he did Amour and Jamal Mahmoud a favor. It is obvious that Amour is one of the most talented players in Palestine when he is on his feet. The problem is that Amour tends to go to ground way to easily and when he a foul isn’t whistled the opposition are already racing down the other end of the pitch. Amour needs to be told that he can do so much more, that if he was a bit more patient shielding the ball he could be setting up teammates for goals. It’s a kink in his game that needs to be ironed out.
What’s Next: Pan-Arab Games are slated for December. Palestine in Group C alongside Libya, Jordan, and Sudan. Challenge Cup draw on December 1st.