Rapid Reaction: Palestine 1:0 Yemen (International Friendly)

Mohammed Darweesh (R) fights for possession 

Palestine Starting XI: Hamadi, Battat, Dheeb, Bahdari, Jaber; Darweesh, Shaban, Yameen; Cantillana, Abu Nahya, Seyam

Substitutions: Norambuena <-> Yameen 64′ // Pinto Islame <-> Abu Nahia 64′ // Cantillana <-> Wridat 64′ // Darweesh <-> Tamburrini 71′ // Ihbeisheh <-> Seyam 79′ // 

Goals: Yashir Pinto Islame 85′ 

Cautions: None 

More after the jump…

Recap: Palestine triumphed late in a game that was not televised at the behest of Yemen’s manager. The victory will give Al-Fida’i confidence ahead of their opening game of 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying. Abdel Nasser Barakat chose to experiment despite the looming qualifier against the Maldives only days away. Palestine rolled out a quasi 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation that they last used in an ugly encounter vs. Morocco’s B team. Mohammed Darweesh’s physical presence was complemented by two nearly identical players in Mohammed Yameen and Shadi Shaban.

Mus’ab Battat who long looked to be out of favor at the right back spot got the nod over Alexis Norambuena and Jaka Ihbeisheh.

The somewhat conservative lineup produced modest results with Palestine only winning two corners in the first half.

Abdel Nasser Barakat didn’t make a change until the 64th minute. Two changes made in that stanza would pay dividends.

Ahmed Maher’s cross in the 85th minute for another sub- Jaka Ihbeisheh was poorly dealt with by the Yemeni goalkeeper. Yashir Pinto Islame capitalized off a weak punch to hammer home his third goal in only his fourth cap and grant Palestine a boost of confidence going into Asian Cup qualifying.

Jersey Watch: Palestine once again rolled up in horrendous jerseys provided by Peak despite their standing sponsorship agreement with Romai.

What I liked: Palestine needed to end camp on a positive note and they did just that. Finding a way to break down a side intent on defending with every fiber of their being is never easy. For most of their re-existence, Palestine has been a reactive side. Going forward, they will need to become more comfortable dictating play.

What I didn’t like: What was going on with that midfield? At some point, Barakat is going to have to loosen the reins. It should come as no surprise that the goal came a result of a more creative central player (Ahmed Maher) entering the fray.

Yemen Verdict: Don’t buy into the numbers. Yes they have only notched six wins in the past five years but this is a valiant and adept side. They will go into qualifying knowing full well that if they execute their game plan, every game is winnable. Nepal should be a breeze for them and if they can collect five points from their four games against Philippines and Tajikistan they might just find themselves in the UAE in two years’ time.

Final Squad: From the looks of the team sheet published today the following players have been cut:

Sameh Mar’aba (not in camp due to Jordan refusing him entry to travel onwards), Mohammed Saleh, Yahya Hareeb, Abdullah Al-Sayed, Mahmoud Abu Warda, Anas Abu Seif, Hani Abdullah

What’s Next: Palestine travel to Maldives on the 25th of March and will take on the islanders three days later.

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