Rapid Reaction: Qatar 2-0 Palestine (Friendly)

Palestine Starting XI: Toufic Ali, Fares, Wadi, Mahdi, Abdullah; Obeid (C), Abujazar, Ismail, Ahmed Maher; Barakat, Attieh

Also participating: Al-Koori, Abed Kaebia, Fayex Asileh, Maen Jamal, Al-Battat

First Half Highlights 

Recap: Whilst Palestine came into this match undermanned and seeking to test new players the hosts fielded a host of big names that have featured for Qatar during World Cup Qualifying. After a nervy start, Palestine settled into a comfortable routine soaking up pressure and releasing quickly on the break. Palestine’s first real chance of the game came from Mohammed Barakat who sprung into the box and unleashed a strong shot that Qasim Burhan had to parry.

Qatar on the other end was forcing corners but could not find a way to translate possession into goals. It was far from a defensive master class but a makeshift backline managed to bend and not break for 45 minutes. Ahmed Maher, Alaa Attieh, and Murad Isamil challenged Qasim Burhan but could find no way past him.

With a slew of subs in the second half Palestine’s quality of play regressed. The lack of possession became less tactical (First Half: Qatar 65%) and more reflective of who was bossing the match. In the end Palestine did concede- ten minutes from time off sloppy set piece defending and would do so again in a similar situation close to full time.

Qatar will be happy to go home having avoided the blushes of drawing against a weakened Palestine. For their part, Al-Fida’i will have gained more experience on how to play in adverse circumstances- a lesson that could serve them well next March.

What I liked: Thought the there were three counter attacks in the first half that were absolutely top class.  Palestine seem better equipped to play situational football than before which is always encouraging.

What I didn’t like: I think at one point or another we need to see what Fadi Jaber and Rami Hammadeh have to offer. Toufic Ali made some good saves but he is capable of being brilliant one minute and imploding the next. On a separate but related note, Raed Fares was a defensive liability throughout the first half.

Jersey Watch: A new Adidas kit with black trim was used for this match. It looked like a stock jersey but I thought the colors were more in line of what the team would usually wear.

What’s Next: Palestine’s domestic season is rapidly coming to a close so expect more friendlies to be in the pipeline as the FA seeks to ready the team for Maldives 2014. 

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