Rapid Reaction: Palestine 2-0 Vietnam (Nakba Cup)

Starting XI (4-4-2): Toufic Ali, Husam Abu Saleh, Abdelsallam Al-Sweikeri, Ra’fit Eyad, Raed Fares; Amjad Zidan, Murad Ismail, Musa Abujazr, Fayez Aslieh; Abdelhamid Abuhabib, Khaldoun Halman

Subs: Amjad Zidan <-> Ahmed Maher // Khaldoun Halman <-> Fahed Attal // Murad Ismail <-> Rami Musalmeh

Goals: Khaldoun Halman 20′, Fahed Attal 77′

Recap: A comfortable affair for 90 minutes, Palestine were rarely troubled in the Nakba Cup opener as they cruised to a labored but inevitable 2-0 victory. Khaldoun Halman in his first, albeit unofficial, appearance with the senior team opened the scoring in the 20th minute. The Ahli Al-Khaleel player almost doubled the scoring minutes later after latching on to a trademark Abu Saleh cross only to see his effort saved by the Vietnamese goalkeeper.

Al-Fursan would be frustrated repeatedly over the game’s second stanza as they failed to convert a series of gilt-edged opportunities. Amjad Zidan who failed to impress, was withdrawn after 45 minutes, his replacement, Ahmed Maher, was equally underwhelming. The Shabab Al-Dhahrieh player was all alone in front of goal but awkwardly tripped in his run up to the ball. It was a shame- because the setup from Abdelhamid Abuhabib and Hussam Abu Saleh was top class.

Eager to put the game away, Jamal Mahmoud brought on a veteran in the shape of Fahed Attal. The forward wasted no time in doing what he was tasked- heading home a corner kick after being left completely unmarked.

What I liked: I think Jamal Mahmoud’s style has permeated the squad- now it’s a matter of incorporating new players into it. Although Palestine should have won by a larger score line the dominance exercised by a motley crew of veterans, fringe players and youngsters was clear to see.

What I didn’t like: The demeanor in front of goal was far too tepid. Palestine should have won by more goals and had many a chance to do so against a U20 side.

Man of the Match: Abdelhamid Abuhabib was industrious and very effective in a deeper role today. He has done alright as a forward but this is a player who should see as much of the ball as possible. His footballing intelligence and distribution are off the charts.

What’s Next: Palestine faces Pakistan Friday in Dora (6 PM). 

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