Rapid Reaction: Morocco B 0:0 Palestine (Unofficial Friendly)

Palestine Starting XI (4-5-1): Rami Hamadi; Mohammed Saleh, Abdelatif Bahdari, Tamer Salah; Abdallah Jaber; Jaka Ihbeisheh, Mohammed Darwish, Mohammed Yameen, Islam Batran, Oday Kahroub, Mahmoud Eid. 

Substitutions:  Batran<->Seyam // Eid <->Mar’aba // Ihbeisheh<->Abu Nahya // Yameen<->Salbees

Highlights and More after the jump…

Recap: Palestine’s rejigging of the lineup saw two true defensive midfielders enter the fray and alongside a new look attack. Mohammed Yameen partnered Darwish in front of the defence- while Islam Batran took up a position on the wing with Oday Kharoub as a number ten.

The changes by Ould Ali had the desired effect for the game plan in the first half with Palestine showing their deftness in absorbing pressure and breaking quickly. There was clever interchange between the triumvirate of Islam Batran, Jaka Ihbeisheh, and Mahmoud Eid throughout the first stanza of play.

Mahmoud Eid came close to opening the scoring in the 20th minute. He showcased great speed and anticipation in chasing down a through ball from Mohammed Yameen and his lifted ball was only just parried away by the on rushing goalkeeper.

Palestine defence was breached only once in the first half a mis hit clearance by Abdelatif Bahdari played Morocco through on goal. The opener was there for the taking but Rami Hamadi’s great reflexes and position kept the game scoreless.

The second half was a bit of a downer given Palestine’s last three games (five goals came in that period). The first substitution saw Islam Batran withdrawn followed by Jaka Ihbeisheh and Mahmoud Eid ten minutes later.

In the final 30 minutes it was bunker ball of the highest order and it is nothing short of a miracle that Palestine held on given how many times Mohammed Saleh was beaten by the speedy Moroccan attack.

In the end, Bahdari and Rami Hamadi did enough to keep a clean sheet and Palestine’s fourth successive draw inside two months.

What I liked: The interplay between Eid and Islam Batran was a sight to behold. It’s the first time they play together and this combination should feature more going forward. Mohammed Yameen also did well in his first start.

What I didn’t like: Ould Ali really messed things up with his subs. Batran should have been on the pitch for 90 minutes. Sameh Mar’aba provided nothing and Abu Nahya was completely stranded without service from Ihbeisheh and Batran.

Ahmad Awad must have been an injury scratch as his absence for the entire game was rather puzzling. Someone also needs to explain why a 30 year old, slow, and inexperienced right back has started the last three games for Palestine.

Man of the Match: Rami Hamadi. Toufic Ali is on alert- Hamadi had a great game and did the little things right. He along with Bahdari were the main reasons for the shutout.

What’s Next: No other friendlies have been scheduled for 2016 and there has been no word on whether or not the WAFF Championship will actually be held. What we do know is that the draw for 2019 Asian Cup qualifying has been set for January 18th, 2017 and Palestine are locked into Pot 2 as per their FIFA ranking.