Palestinians Abroad: Banner day for Palestinians in continental cup competitions
|Carlos Salom: first Palestinian to score in both South American cup competitions|
When the AFC announced a reduction in Palestine's AFC Cup allocation in December of last year it seemed improbable to envision a week like the one we are currently experiencing.
A Palestinian national team player has scored in the AFC Cup, The Asian Champions League, and Copa Libertadores within less than 72 hours of each other.
Video of all the goals after the jump...
Shabab Al-Khaleel victorious in the AFC Cup
With Ahli Al-Khaleel unceremoniously stripped of their place in the AFC Cup playoffs- it fell to their cross town rivals Shabab to try and better the achievements of WBPL clubs over the past two seasons (when the allocation was 1.5 as opposed to .5).
Despite a tumultuous league season, Shabab Al-Khaleel duly delivered overcoming a 1-0 first half deficit to win the game 2-1 with goals from Fahed Attal and Ahmad Abu Nahyeh.
Shabab now will hope that the slender one goal lead will hold up in the return leg next week.
Ahmad Maher makes Asian Champions League History
That opening act was followed by Ahmad Maher Wridat who made his debut for Jordanian giants Al-Wehdat in the AFC Champions League. The former Dhahrieh and Ahli Al-Khaleel player became the second Palestinian to play in the AFC Champions league following Abdelatif Bahdari who played with Wehdat in this stage of the competition two years ago.
The playmaker, who is one of only four players to score more than one goal in the AFC Cup (Mahmoud Wadi, Fady Zidan, and Abed Morjan are the others) became the first Palestinian to score in the AFC Champions League when he slotted home the opening goal against Bengaluru in the 47th minute. He nearly doubled Wehdat's lead with a spectacular bicycle kick minutes later.
The diminutive attacker made way in the 73rd minute with Wehdat up 2-0 in a game they eventually won 2-1. The Jordanian champions will face Al-Wahda of the UAE next week with a spot in the AFC Champions League group stage on the line.
Carlos Salom scores in Copa Libertadores
The final act of Palestinian dominance on the continental stage was provided by Carlos Salom who continued his fine 2016 form in his first competitive match in 2017. His opportunistic run busted Cerro's offside trap to give Union Española a 2-1 lead at the stroke of halftime.
Salom became only the second Palestine national team player to score in South America's most prestigious cup competition following in the footsteps of Pablo Abdala who scored in the 2001 edition of the tournament.
Much like Ahmad Maher, Salom is also the first Palestinian to score in both the Copa Sudamericana and Copa Libertadores.
Salom was also involved in the build up for the winning goal blocking a Cerro clearance and deflecting the ball to Sebastian Jaime. Union Española will host the return leg next week knowing that a draw or a low scoring one goal loss will see them through to the next round.