Palestine 2:1 Yemen
Palestine victorious but will need to raise their game against Kuwait & Saudi Arabia
Palestine Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Ramzi Saleh (C); Abu Saleh, Sweikeri, Wadi, Alexis; Khader Youssef, Kettlun; Zatara, Samara, Nu'man; Attal
Goals: Ashraf Nu'man 36, Ismail Amour 90+2
Substitutions: Toufic Ali <-> Ramzi Saleh // Raed Fares <-> Houssam Wadi // Musa Abujazr <-> Alexis Norambuena // Ma'ly Kawre' <-> Roberto Kettlun // Ismail Amour <-> Mohammed Samara // Khaldoun Al-Halman <-> Fahed Attal
Highlights after the jump....
Recap: Palestine picked up the win despite the team not hitting all cylinders. The level of play was visibly poorer in the first half as players struggled to acclimate to the altitude but despite that Palestine still managed to nick a win thanks to Amour's free kick in injury time. Despite the less than stellar performance, it was good to see Palestine pick up a win on the road in less than ideal circumstances. For many of the players in camp this was their first competitive action since mid-May and it showed but that said there were plenty of positives to take from this performance.
Palestine seem to have addressed two problem areas with the inclusion of Alexis Norambuena at left back and Roberto Kettlun filling in as a withdrawn playmaker. It was also refreshing to see Mohammed Samara in his natural position as a #10 instead of being shoehorned into the side as a winger as he was during the AFC Challenge Cup. Samara's assisted the first goal and his absence was felt in the second half when he was substituted out.
It was not surprising to see Ismail Amour and Ashraf Nu'man find the back of the net. Amour is increasingly becoming a talisman for Palestine- able to create a moment of brilliance out of nothing. Ashraf Nu'man has really come into his own since Mahmoud took over replicating his scintillating club form for country and forcing Atef Abu Bilal- his one time competition for playing time- out of the squad. Under Jamal Mahmoud's tutelage, the Wadi Al-Nes product has found the back of the net five times for the national team (unofficially against Jordan and Azerbaijan as well as against Bahrain, Maldives, and now Yemen). It's no wonder he's been linked with a move abroad to Jordanian giants Al-Faisaly.
In summation, it was good to get the win but there is still a lot of hard work to be done if the team is going to progress out of its group.