Rapid Reaction: Palestine 1:1 DPR Korea (2018 AFC U23 Championship)

Oday Dabbagh opens the scoring in Jiangyin

Recap: Palestine were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in a hard fought encounter. The opening 15 minutes saw relentless pressure from the young Fida’i which resulted in the first clear cut chance falling to Mahmoud Yousef after seven minutes of play. A cutting pass from Arminia Hannover’s Mohammed Darwish sent Yousef rushing down the left flank but his finishing touch failed him as he chose to nutmeg the goalkeeper.

A breakthrough would be on the cards less than 10 minutes later when Mohammed El-Kayed sent a looping ball into the path of Oday Dabbagh. A defensive mix up between the Korean goalkeeper and defender gave the Hilal Al-Quds wunderkind an open path to goal and Palestine’s first goal at a youth tournament finals.

Palestine would continue to pour on the pressure but the Chollima came close to an equalizer from a set piece- crashing a free kick effort against Ramzi Fakhouri’s right post.

The second half saw a more even passage of play and the Koreans had their equalizer after the Palestinian defence went to sleep. Michel Termanini lost his mark- Kim Yu-Song- whose shot deflected off Mohammed Basim and into the back of net.

Palestine’s response was positive but a winner was not to be had. Michel Termanini came close on a set piece header, Mohammed Darwish also had good chance stopped by the keeper, while Dabbagh’s ghosted run off of Abu Warda’s deliver almost gave him a second goal on the day.

In the end, a 1-1 draw will give Ayman Sandouqa’s men the sense of a missed opportunity and will now leave them needing a win- and some help to advance to the quarter finals.

Ayman Sandouqa: Palestine head coach

“I think the draw was a bad result, we had so many chances to score another goal and get the three points. We started the game looking to score first, but we lost control over the midfield, and maybe that’s why we drew, but we had our own chances as well. We are only looking ahead now.”

Ju Song-il: DPR Korea head coach

“Today’s match was really important for us to advance, but the game didn’t go as well as expected, which is unfortunate. My team played better than they did in the first game, especially their transition from defence to attack. It was definitely better.”

What I liked: The first 15 minutes- if Palestine can finish their chances then they should be confident of a first ever win at the finals of an Asian tournament when they face Thailand. 

What I didn’t like: There seemed to be a lack of certainty as to how to deal with the lead. After going 1-0 up, Palestine should have exercised more control of the game- keeping possession without taking unnecessary risk. The Korean goal was unfortunate but seemed likely given the unit’s lack of time together. 

Man of the Match: Oday Dabbagh was the most consistent attacking threat in this game. When not being fed by his teammates he has a knack at producing his own chances.  

What’s Next: Palestine face Thailand on Tuesday, January 16th at 8 AM GMT. They will need a win while hoping that Japan can finish off Korea DPR as well. In the even that both games finish 1-0 a fair play tie breaker will be used. Palestine have four yellow cards to Korea’s three going into the final match day. 

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