By Sammy Baroud
The Palestine National Football team are top of group B on ‘Matchday 2’ of the Asian Cup Qualifiers. A win or draw against the Philippines on Monday will see Al-Fidaii punch their ticket to the 2023 Asian Cup.
Palestine started off their Asian Qualifying campaign with an away win against Mongolia on Wednesday. They won 1-0 courtesy of an Oday Dabbagh penalty in the 85’th minute. Dabbagh sent his penalty into the bottom corner, kicking off a round of great form for the national team after his high-profile move to F.C. Arouca in the Portuguese top flight.
Today, Palestine took a massive step toward qualification after an emphatic performance against Yemen where they won 5-0 and saw some incredible goals.
#CultureCounts: "What: 2023 Asian Cup Qualification
When: June 11th, 2022
Where: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Kickoff: 12 PM Jerusalem Time"
— Palestine Deep Dive (@PDeepdive) June 11, 2022
Oday Dabbagh kicked us off on the score sheet in the 14’th minute with his second goal of the qualifying campaign. Right before the halftime whistle in 45’+1, Mohammed Bassim Rashid raised the roof with a screamer of a freekick. A freekick that rivaled the magic of his knuckleball long shot against Saudi Arabia in the Arab Cup and similarly came just before the stroke of halftime.
In the second half, we saw great goals from Mohamed Yamin and Saleh Chihadeh. The scoring was capped off in the 65’ minute when the 5th goal came from an own goal by Yemen’s Ahmed Alwajeeh.
Palestine currently tops the group with 6 points and is playing against second-place Philippines on Monday. A win or a draw against the Philippines in Mongolia this Monday will secure Palestine a place in their third consecutive AFC Asian Cup in 2023.
47' GOALL!!!! Palestine open the second half with a third goal as Mohammed Yamin tucks in a goal into the corner from the top of the box. Palestine in cruise control now. Yemen really up against it. They've battled but have come up with very little. #ACQ2023 #YEMvPLE
— FootballPalestine.com (@FutbolPalestine) June 11, 2022
A tournament where we could see Al-Fidaii play against the continent’s best footballing stars like South Korea and Tottenham’s Son Heung Min, to Iran’s Mehdi Taremi of Porto. Palestine’s destiny is in their own hands and their fate will be decided in the Football Centre MFF in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 2 days from now.