Preview: China vs. Palestine (Friendly)



What: International Friendly 
Where: Chenzhou, Palestine 
When: December 21, 2014
Kickoff: 1130 GMT 

TV: BeIn Sports 9 
Stream: http://www.pal24.net/ViewNews.aspx?ID=49566


Full squad and preview after the jump....

GK: Ramzi Saleh (unattached), Toufic Ali (Wadi Al-Nes), Rami Hammadeh (Khader FC) 

DF: Raed Fares, Abed Jaber, Tamer Salah (all Hilal Al-Quds), Mus'ab Al-Battat (Shabab Al-Dhahrieh), Ahmed Harbi (Al-Am'ary), Abdelatif Bahdari (Wehdat/JOR), Alexis Norambuena (GKS Belchatow/POL) 

MF: Musa Abujazr (Khader FC), Murad Ismail, Ismail Amour Hesham Salhe, Husam Abu Saleh (all Hilal Al-Quds), Khader Yousef (Tarji Wadi Al-Nes), Mahmoud Sheikhaqasem (Al-Am'ary), Abdelhamid Abuhabib, Adham Abu Rwais (both Balata), Ramzi Barakat (AD Torrejon/ESP), Ahmed Maher (Shabab Al-Dhahrieh), Jaka Ihbeisheh (NK Krka/SLO) 

FW: Mahmoud Eid (Nyköping/SWE), Matías Jadue (Deportes Antofagasta/CHI), Khaled Salem (Hilal Al-Quds)

Preview: This encounter will pit the teams that clinched the 15th and 16th spots at next year's Asian Cup. China suffered through an indifferent qualifying campaign (2-2-2, -1 GD) and were on their way out only for Thailand to score a late consolation against Lebanon, assuring China of the best third place slot. 

Since then, China have been a completely different team. Suffering only a single loss since the 3-1 reverse to Iraq in Asian Cup qualifying (A loss to Mali by the same score) tallying six wins and four draws. Their most impressive result was a 2-1 win over Paraguay last month.  Former Portsmouth manager, Alain Perrin has made strides with the team and his side will present a stern test for Palestine. Guangzhou Evergrande's Zheng Zhi pulls the strings in midfield while Wu Lei and Yang Xu have thrived under French management. 

Yellow Cards: Palestine's best player will not be available for this game having played for Al-Faisaly in the Saudi Pro League 48 hours earlier. According to sources in the PFA the player will be suspended for the first game against Japan as per the rules outlined in Section 10 of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying Regulations. That said, Palestine didn't participate in that competition- they participated in the Challenge Cup and  that competitions regulatory hand book makes no mention of cards carrying over from one competition to the next. 

Also under threat of suspension is Abdelhamid Abuhabib. If both players miss out, Palestine will be without the players that assisted and scored every goal during the Challenge Cup. 

New Faces: Jaka Ihbeisheh (NK Krka/SLO), Matias Jadue (Deportes Antofagasta/CHI), and Ramzi Barakat (AD Torrejon/ESP) were all present in Dubai but only Ihbeisheh made his full international debut. None of the players are locks to make the Asian Cup squad and will have to make a statement before squads are finalized on the 30th. 

Additions: Ashraf Nu'man may not be here but he will most definitely be present next week against Iran and next month in Australia. Defensively, Palestine still have a lot of question marks. The WBPL's best defender- Haitham Dheeb- is stuck at work, Daniel Kabir Mustafá only just wrapped up his club's league campaign, while Javier Cohene is mysteriously absent despite having recovered from a foot injury. 

One would figure the aforementioned players plus Omar Jarun and Khaled Mahdi offer more upside and experience than the likes of Tamer Salah.

Predictions: Ahmed El-Hassan seems to be emphasizing the incorporation of a lot of long ball into Palestine's game. As unpleasing as it has been to see a regression in style- Palestine seem to be a lot more solid defensively, which should serve them well next month. A matchup against a good China side should provide another litmus and a better performance- especially in attack will be expected after the 1-0 reverse to Uzbekistan.