|Mahmoud Eid- one of three goal scorers on the day|
Palestine Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Toufic Ali; Al-Battat, Bahdari, Salah, Abu Jazar; Salhe, Murad Ismail; Amour (C), Abuhabib, Seyam; Ashraf Nu’man
Substitutes: Amour <-> Abu Saleh // Seyam <-> Eid // Ashraf Nu’man <-> Ahmed Maher // Ismail <-> Sheikhqasem // Hesham Salhe <-> Khader Yousef ->->->->->
Abuhabib 56′ (0-1)
Salhe 70′ (0-2)
Eid 83′ (0-3)
Nguyen 89′ (1-3)
Highlights and more after the jump…
Recap: Ahmed El-Hassan reshuffled his lineup for Palestine’s second game in four days. In fact, the only players to start both November friendlies were Murad Ismail and Abdelatif Bahdari. Despite being perfectly capable of keeping the ball for long stretches, Palestine seemed to have agreed on a predetermined tactic of playing long diagonal balls in the direction of Ashraf Nu’man and wingers Ismail Amour and Tamer Seyam. Despite dribbling into threatening areas- Al-Fida’i had trouble locating the final pass with Seyam the main culprit with regards to bad decision making. Vietnam’s speed gave Palestine a whole host of problems.
Vietnam was unlucky not to open the score 10 minutes in- Toufic Ali’s run out was perhaps not the best idea but the Wadi Al-Nes ‘keeper managed to parry away the lobbed attempt from Lê Công Vinh in the most unorthodox of fashions. Hesham Salhe had a chance to open the score a mere minute later but he blasted his shot over the bar with only the keeper to beat. The first half petered out and it seemed that Vietnam would soon find away to punish Palestine for their sloppy play.
Palestine managed to turn it around in the second half. Seyam and Amour swapped wings which helped boost the performance somewhat and in the 56th minute one of those long balls (from Abu Jazar) found Hesham Salhe who beat the offsides trap and a desperate goalkeeper before slotting it to Abuhabib who had an empty net to shoot at.
Salhe would turn from provider to plunderer doubling Palestine’s lead with a great volley off a poorly cleared corner in the 70th minute.
The long ball proved fruitful again with Ahmed Maher latching on to Abuhabib’s ball and setting up Mahmoud Eid’s first ever international goal.
Vietnam got a deserved consolation goal late on to ensure that the scoreline didn’t flatter Palestine too much.
What I liked: After relying exclusively on Abuhabib and Ashraf Nu’man to score all the goals during the AFC Challenge Cup it seems that some other players have found their scoring form. Ahmed Maher notched five during the Peace Cup, while Murad Ismail, Khader Yousef, Javier Cohene, Abed Jaber, Abdelatif Bahdari, Hesham Salhe, and Mahmoud Eid have all scored their first goals with the national team.
What I didn’t like: I’m not sure why there was an insistence on playing long-ball today. It worked in the end but I felt it also provided Vietnam opportunities to attack us and our defence was put under unnecessary duress in the absence of its fastest central defenders (Cohene and Dheeb). Yes, we managed to beat Veitnam at its own game but I don’t think this tactic will work against any of our group stage opponents in two months’ time.
Man of the Match: Hesham Salhe. Excelled in midfield and provided added creativity in the midfield. Scored a great first international goal. A shoe-in for the preliminary roster of 50 players in one month’s time and you would think that he has an inside track on Houssam Wadi and Sheikhqasem for the final 23.
What’s Next: Palestine have December Friendlies against Uzbekistan (14/12) and China (21/12). The pre-Asian Cup training camp will most likely get underway after the culmination of the WBPL’s 11th matchday on November 27th.