Thailand 1 : 0 Palestine
Full Replay of the match available here.
Al-Fida'i were unable to spring an upset last night in Bangkok but have given themselves a chance at redemption in a fortnight's time on home soil. Palestine put forth a competent display in the first leg of 2012 Olympic Qualifying, defending valiantly out of a 4-2-3-1 formation and springing counters through Ali El-Khatib and Malmö FF rising star Hicham Ali on either wing. The star of the match for Palestine was lanky goalkeeper, Toufic Ali who handled everything thrown at him with the exception of the lone goal in the 43rd minute. Patcha Narat sprung the offsides trap and slotted home to give the home side the lead at the interval.
Thailand was once again on the front foot in the second half testing Ali's goal on numerous occasions. The Wadi Al-Nes stopper denied Patchya Narat several times before he was substituted. Thailand's best chance of the second half came from a Chalermsak Kaewsooktae free kick which was brilliantly saved by Ali.
Despite Thailand dominating for large periods of this match Palestine had a golden opportunity late in the game to equalize through Khaled Salem who put a shot just wide of the net from inside the box. The Merkaz Tulkarem striker, given the tough task of playing alone up front, was a menace and a handful for the Thai defence. The team had a strong final 10 minutes as Thailand looked to defend their 1-0 lead.
The return leg is set to be played on March 9th in Palestine at Al-Ram's Faisal Al-Husseini Memorial Stadium, kickoff is set for 1800 local time.
Palestine manager Mokhtar "The Dinosaur" Al-Talili blamed the loss on fatigue with the players having only 48 hours to adjust to the five hour time difference:
Toufic Ali (GK); Ahmad Salameh, Mustafa Abu Kweik, Nadim Barghouthi, Salim Darooby; Mahmoud Koori (Mohammed Al-Sadoody), Fayez Aslieh (Mus'ab Al-Batat), Ali El-Khatib (Amjad Zidan), Ahmad Mearry, Hicham Ali; Khaled Salim.