Player Ratings: Philippines-Palestine

I had the opportunity to actually watch the Palestine-Philippines match yesterday and thought I would share my opinion of the performance.

I wouldn't use a harsh word like dominate but I thought Palestine controlled this game for 90 minutes. Philippines had some good flashes here and there but were definitely the happier side at the end of the game. I am looking forward to combining this group of players with the best of the Olympic side and the professionals who play abroad. One thing they could use is a set piece taker... Palestine were very wasteful of those in this game. We seem to have established a very English style of play dependent on speedy wingers and crosses into the box. That said, Palestine were also equally comfortable slowing down the tempo and playing through the middle.

Here are my ratings for the players who took part in this game. Just as reference I don't give out 10s, 9 is outstanding, 8 is great, 7 is good, 6 is average.

Abdullah Saidawi (6)- Did not have a lot to deal with but commanded his area very well. His distribution was adequate but not as good as Ramzi Saleh's. Overall, I feel comfortable with the fact that he will most start against Afghanistan, there is no need to rush Ramzi's recuperation process.

Ahmad Harbi (5.5)- I would give him a much higher score for his presence in attack but defensively he was a liability. His mistakes were covered by Bahdari and Amour who was dropping back to help him out. Against a weak side he can be very useful with his constant attacking forays. But defensively he is diving into tackles or getting beat due to poor positioning. Placing him on the right flank was a good decision by Bezaz.

Khaled Mahdi (6.5)- The only criticism I have of Mahdi is that he doesn't play the ball out of defence. He was not punished for this by the Philippines but bigger sides are more capable at pinning a defence and pounding it until it concedes a goal.

Abdelatif Bahdari (7.5)- He was EVERYWHERE. Unlike his partner at the back, Bahdari plays the ball out of defence, his skill on the ball is evidence of the fact that he was a playmaking midfielder in his youth. Completely marked Guirado out of the match. We're still waiting on him to score a goal for the national team... he was being targeted often on corners but to no avail. I'm sure he'll get on the score sheet soon, this is a player who scored FOUR goals in one match for Hilal Areeha (Jericho) two seasons ago.

Samer Hijazi (5.5)- Did not offer much in attack, was good in defence but a positional mistake gave Philippines their best chance at scoring.

Houssam Wadi (7)- Helped out admirably in defence, was also pivotal in launching attacks with pinpoint passing to the wingers. An underrated player, it remains to be seen whether he can replicate this form against better opposition. He's the only holding midfielder Bezaz seems to like.

Khader Youssef (6)- Did a lot of dirty work in defence but didn't go forward enough. Should have done better with the corners he took.

Ashraf Nu'man (6.5)- A very promising performance from the 24 year-old. His 50 yard chip that caught Etheridge off his line was no accident. Caused the Azkals' defence problem with his speed, needs to cut in and go at goal a bit more.

Suleiman Obeid (6.5)- A very lively spark in the midfield but he let down the team with erratic decision making in the final third. Would probably be better suited for the wing if Bezaz with Attal or Keshkesh as a supporting forward. Had multiple chances to score that went begging. Should have been more decisive with his passing, often waited instead of anticipated an opening or a teammate's run.

Ismail Amour (7)- Best attacking player out there. Had the misfortune of being mistaken for a veteran player by the Filipino commentators (he's only 26) due to his receding hairline. Was at the heart of nearly every attack.

Murad Alyan (6.5)- His performance merited a goal but Neil Etheridge did well to deny him a couple of times and sweep up the balls played into the box. Combined well with teammates and was more than willing to drop back when needed. In short, the best striker to play for us since Al-Kord, he's a pure goalscorer and could be even more lethal when paired with Attal or Keshkesh.