Palestine frustrated by 10-man UAE at AFC Asian Cup Qatar

Palestine frustrated by 10-man UAE at AFC Asian Cup Qatar By A Robin - January 21, 2024
AFC Asian Cup

AFC Asian Cup

Palestine kept their hopes of reaching the knockout stage at the Asian Cup alive despite being held 1-1 by 10-man United Arab Emirates on Thursday.

A thrilling game in Qatar took place against the backdrop of the war in the Palestinian territory of Gaza.

Some of the Palestinian players have lost loved ones or have family trapped in Gaza, and the team have been forced to train and play matches overseas.

A brief moment's silence was held before kick-off.

Most of the crowd of over 40,000 in Doha roared their support for Palestine, but the UAE opened the scoring midway through the first half through Sultan Adil's header.

Palestine were awarded a penalty and UAE defender Khalifa Al-Hammadi was sent off in the 37th minute, but Tamer Seyam saw his spot kick saved by Khalid Eisa.

Palestine equalised five minutes into the second half when UAE defender Bader Nasser headed the ball into his own goal.

But they could not go on to claim their first ever win at the Asian Cup, with Eisa denying them with a series of crucial saves.

Palestine lost their opening game 4-1 to Iran, one of the tournament favourites.

They play minnows Hong Kong in their final group match on Tuesday.

Eisa heroics

Palestine made a positive start amid a brief rain shower, but UAE burst their bubble with the opening goal in the 23rd minute.

Ali Saleh swung in a cross from the right and Adil headed it past Palestine goalkeeper Rami Hamada.

The goal seemed to suck the energy out of Palestine but they regrouped and won a penalty after a VAR check.

Hammadi was adjudged to have dragged down Oday Dabbagh in the box, and the replay also brought a red card for the UAE defender.

But Seyam, who scored in Palestine's opening game against Iran, fluffed his lines from the spot, hitting his penalty too close to Eisa.

Palestine pressed hard for an equaliser before the half-time whistle but Dabbagh's header onto the roof of the net was the closest they came.

They only had to wait five minutes after the break to draw level, when Nasser horribly misjudged a clearance and planted a diving header into his own net.

Eisa scrambled away a goal-bound header from Mohammed Saleh on the hour as Palestine turned the screw.

The goalkeeper was in inspired form, and UAE held off the Palestine attack for the rest of the game to claim a point.

UAE beat Hong Kong 3-1 in their opening game.

By A Robin - January 21, 2024

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