Against All Odds, Palestine’s U-20 Football Squad Advances to Semifinals of Arab Cup

The under-20 Palestine National team have made it to the semi-finals of the U-20 Arab Cup. (Photo: Video Grab)

By Sammy Baroud

The under-20 Palestine National team have made it to the semi-finals of the U-20 Arab Cup coming off a late win against Jordan. Palestine’s young champions will meet Saudi Arabia on August 3 in Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Stadium in Abha, Saudi Arabia. 

The Palestinian team will have a tough task ahead of them as they play tournament hosts Saudi Arabia, who topped group A before edging Yemen on penalties in the quarterfinals. Palestine will play not only to make national sporting history but to also put a spotlight on the young footballing talent Palestine has to offer. 

Al Fidaii have proved time and again in this tournament that they are a force to be reckoned with since the first match they played against Sudan. In that opening match, Palestine came back from a 3-2 deficit to win the game. The equalizing goal came in the 83’ minute courtesy of Qais Al-Hattab. The game was topped off with two more goals in stoppage time, allowing Palestine to punch its ticket to the last 8, coming out on top 5-3. 

Palestine secured the points they needed to advance on the first match day, meaning that a 1-0 loss to Morocco was of little importance. Palestine then met neighbors Jordan in the quarter finals where a 1-1 deadlock went to penalties where Palestine came out on top 5-4 on penalties and secured their spot in the final four of the tournament. 

Now the Palestinians have the opportunity to reach the final against the winner of the other semi final of Algeria vs Egypt. If this young talent filled team can advance it will be their first international tournament final at any age group in several years. 

Palestinian football fans will wait patiently with the hope that young talents like Qais Al-Hattab and Mohammad Sundoka can produce a positive result on Wednesday.

– Sammy Baroud is a young Palestinian-American Sports Writer and an aspiring footballer. He contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle. Follow him @sammybaroud

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