Rapid Reaction: Palestine 3:1 Burundi (2020 Bangabandhu Gold Cup)

Starting XI: Toufic Ali, Radwan Abukarash, Mohamed Khalil, Musa Saleem, Yazan Iwaiwi; Mahmoud Abu Warda, Sameh Maraaba, Odai Kharoub, Layth Kharoub (Ahmed Qatmish); Mohamed Darwish (Reebal Dahamshe), Khaled Salem (Amor Qitawi)

Goals: Khaled Salem 3′, Sameh Maraaba 9′ Layth Kharoub 25′ 

Recap: After a series of three successive unconvincing performances, Palestine erupted early and often to seal a successful title defence. A 3-1 win over Burundi’s B team was not what many expected following back to back performances headlined bby poor play against even poorer opposition. Of not for late goals against Sri Lanka and Seychelles, Palestine might not have been in this situation at all.

Khaled Salem opened the scoring after just two minutes- tapping in a low driven ball from Mohamed Darwish. Sameh Maraaba double the score after some lackadaisical defending by Burundi on a for er kick. Palestine had their third less than 30 minutes later- Darwish was key in the set up of Salem whoshe shot clattered against the post and into the path of Layth Kharoub. The Balata man’s third goal of the tournament will warrant him future consideration for the national team.

Palestine didn’t do much after that. In fact, after scoring the second goal they stuck their o My recognized forward on the right wing and played with something in between a false 9 and a speed option up top until Reebal Dahamshe’s introduction into the match.

Burundi threw everything at Palestine in the second  werehalf and rewarded with a goal on the hour mark. It was case of too little to late though, the African side amassed 64% possession and 16 shots but could not find a way back into the game.

For Palestine their three shots would suffice. Remarkably, as they had done for the past three games, Al-Fida’i converted 100% of their shots.

What I liked: Winning is always a good thing. This tournament may be meaningless and will do nothing to help Palestine’s broken WCQ campaign but it will be a lot easier to push the program in the right direction if and when a new coach is hired. Moreover, the first 25 minutes showcased the efficacy of the long ball tactic- which worked due to.the fact that Burundi made mistakes while pushing forward in attack.

This tournament also saw debuts for a slew of you g players. For the defenders and the goalkeepers the weak was of the opposition means it’s nearly impossible to assess their performance. Further up the pitch, Reebal Dahamshe did not look out of place despite only being 17 years old. Mohamed Darwish, Layth Kharoub, and Dawoud Iraqi were amongst the standouts who should be called up when the national team reconvenes.

What I didn’t like: The national team has not been fun to watch in a very long time. It doesn’t matter the opponent- the style will always be attritional. Palestine should have and could have practiced stroking the ball amongst themselves at 3-0 instead they defended deeper and deeper. Burundi were too weak an oppone to overturn the deficit but playing in such a manner is not viable. Palestine needs an identity and while elements of what Daboub/Ould Ali do can be incorporated hoofing the ball forwards in all and every circumstance is not a successful approach and is wasting Palestine:s preponderance of attacking talent. 

What’s Next: Palestine face Singapore in a World Cup qualifier on March 26th. 

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