Palestine Starting XI (4-4-2): Mohammed Shbair, Raed Fares, Nadim Barghouti, Khaled Mahdi, Hani Naboulse, Hussam Abu Saleh, Khader Yousuf (C), Ma'ly Kawre, Musa Abu Jazar, Khaldoun Al-Halman, Eyad Abugharqoud
Substitutions: Mahmoud Salah <-> Hani Naboulse // Ahmad Abdullah <-> Khader Yousuf // Abdulhamid Abuhabeeb <-> Eyad Abugharqoud // Ashraf Nu'man ->->-><-> Khaldoun Al-Halman ->
Goals: Eyad Abugharqoud 6', Hussam Abu Saleh 18' (p) (PLE), Ahmad Al-Douni 69' (p) (SYR)
In the second of a two match series, Al-Fursan scored two early goals that proved enough to grant them a win over Syria - a feat that has eluded them in all previous encounters with their West Asian neighbors.
The teams had met earlier in Amman on Saturday and played out a 1-1 draw. Today's venue was the Prince Mohammed stadium in Zarqa, north of the capital. Both teams have been holding training camps in Jordan as part of their preparations for the West Asian Football Federation Championship. Both matches were not broadcast and while we were lucky to have Bassil attend the first one and give us a firsthand account, we will have to rely on the report from the PFA's embedded journalist for the details of today's match - as skimpy as they may be. (Source)
The starting lineup tells us Jamal Mahmoud changed things up from the last time around. He opted for a 4-4-2 with a few tweaks to the lineup including: Mohammed Shbair starting between the posts instead of Toufic Ali, Nadim Barghouti in defense instead of Haitham Deeb and Ma'ly Kawre in place of Amjad Zidane. Abuhabeeb started on the bench and Abugharqoud had company upfront in the form of Ahli Al-Khalil's Khaldoun Al-Halman.
According to the report, Palestine was the better side in the first half. Eyad Abugharqoud put Palestine ahead with a freekick that went to the right of the keeper and shortly after, Al-Halman won a penalty which Hussam Abu Saleh duly converted.
The Syrians went on the attack in the second half to try to make a comeback and were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty which made the score 2-1. Jamal Mahmoud made a few changes to bulk up the midfield and gave playing time to Ashraf Nu'man who just joined the camp after superb form with Jordan's Faisaly - though he did not manage to get on the scoresheet. As full time approached, Palestine held on to the lead despite Syrian pressure to equalize.
A Few Thoughts
- The two friendlies gave Jamal Mahmoud a great opportunity to tinker around with the squad - and tinker he did. Not only did we get results, but plenty of the players got playing time as well.
- The team redeemed itself today by taking the lead AND holding on to it - As opposed to almost immediately losing it like in Saturday's match which led us to question the squads maturity.
- Palestine will conclude its Amman training camp in the next couple of days and fly to Doha. They will face Bahrain there in a friendly next week.
- The squad is yet to include key players who are still tied to their foreign clubs. They are expected to join early next month before the team is Kuwait-bound.