|Three points vs. Amoori & Co. in March could see Palestine through|
Matchday 8 of Asian World Cup qualifying is a bye for Palestine but their hopes of clinching a spot were considerably boosted by results elsewhere.
No upset was forthcoming in Group A as both Saudi Arabia and UAE clinched the points they were expected to clinch. The Saudis made easy work of what amounted to a U23 Timorese team- all naturalized players had been held out after Palestine’s appeal to FIFA regarding the using of ineligible Brazilians.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia did Palestine a favor by holding off UAE, losing respectably by a 2-1 margin.
Results in other groups also went Palestine’s way. Group winners along with best four best runners up qualify for the third round of qualifying and punch a ticket to the 2019 Asian Cup.
More after the jump...
Over in Group B, Jordan’s unexpected loss vs. Kyrgyzstan means they will need to beat Australia to surpass Palestine’s potential maximum total of 11 points.
A goalless draw between China and Hong Kong for the second time did little to settle matters in Group C. Both teams will need a win vs Group C Winners Qatar to be serious contenders for the Third Round.
Oman’s loss to Turkmenistan puts them at the foot of the runner’s up table on five points. Only maximum points from games vs. Guam and Iran in March can resuscitate their World Cup dream.
At the opposite end of the table, Syria will most likely not add to their 12 points over the next two games. A likely win vs. Cambodia will not be counted as they are currently last in the Group E standings nor are they expected to grab points in Japan on the final matchday. Although not mathematically safe, Syria is in good stead heading into the final two matchdays.
Iraq’s World Cup wobble continued as they secured only the narrowest of wins vs. Chinese Taipei. Two ‘home’ fixtures against the teams above them, Vietnam and Thailand, gives them control over their destiny and maximum points will see them win the group.
The fate of Group G is up in the air with the current runner-up, Kuwait facing FIFA sanctions for government interference in sport.
Palestine can finish second in Group A by:
Winning the appeal vs. Timor Leste AND
- Beating UAE & Timor Leste
- Drawing vs. UAE & Beating Timor Leste by 9 goals + UAE draw/loss vs. Saudi Arabia
Unsuccessful appeal vs. Timor Leste AND
- Beating UAE & Timor Leste + UAE Loss to Saudi Arabia
If Palestine wins out, their point total in the Runner’s up table would be 11 points with a Goal Differential of at least +12.
Al-Fida’i could qualify with a point haul of 9 points but only if Iraq/Vietnam finish on less than 9 points and Kuwait's results are invalidated due to suspension.