Thursday, October 8, 2015

Rapid Reaction: Timor Leste 1:1 Palestine (2018 World Cup Qualifier)

Abu Nahyeh rescues point for Palestine at the death
Palestine Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Toufic Ali; Battat, Bahdari, Salah, Jaber; Sheikhqasem, Khader Yousef;  Seyam, Mar'aba, Zatara; Eid. 

Substitutions: Tamer Seyam <--> Matias Jadue 53' // Mahmoud Sheikhqasem <--> Jonathan Cantillana 62' // Mahmoud Eid <--> Ahmed Abu Nahyeh 80' 

Cautions: Matias Jadue

TLS: Ramon Saro 54'
PLE: Abu Nahyeh 90+2' 

Highlights and full recap after the jump... 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Preview: Timor Leste v. Palestine (2018 World Cup Qualifier)

Dili International Stadium: Shrouded in mystery...

Game Information

What: 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifying
When: October 8th, 2015
Where: Dili National Stadium, Dili. Timor Leste
Kickoff: 0700 GMT
Streams/TV: game available on BeIn Sport 1, Palestine Sport, Abu Dhabi Sport 1, Al-Kass

Previous Encounters: 

Suspensions: Palestine will be without a couple of key players for a tricky away encounter against an unknown foe. Midfield maestro Mohammed Darwish- who has played every minute of the qualifying campaign misses out due to yellow card accumulation. Abdel-Nasser Barakat returns from his one man touchline ban to lead the team out once again. Centreback Abdelatif Bahdari is back after serving a three month ban for abandoning the team's training camp in June.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

FP Interviews: Jaka Ihbeisheh

As we get ready for another round of World Cup qualifiers, we bring back a classic Football Palestine segment: the player interview. 

Jaka Ihbeisheh, was born in Ljubljana to a Palestinian father and Slovene mother. He started his career with hometown club NK Interblock as a youth player and has represented several clubs in the Prva Liga. He was under the PFA's radar until the final run-up to the 2015 Asian Cup when he was called up to the Dubai training camp, earning his first cap in a friendly against Uzbekistan. The 29 year old winger went on to engrave his name in Palestinian football history (in an otherwise forgetful tournament) scoring Palestine's first Asian Cup goal.

We reached out to Jaka as he was preparing for his last club match before the international break - after which he will board a flight to catch up with the squad in East Timor. Read more below for the interview. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Rapid Reaction: Palestine 0:0 UAE (2018 World Cup Qualifying)

Palestine Starting XI (4-4-1-1): Toufic Ali; Alexis, Dheeb, Salah, Jaber; Imad Zatara, Darwish, Tamburrini, Ihbeisheh; Mar'aba; Jadue. 

Cautions: Darwish 28', Ihbeisheh 43' 

Substitutions: Jaka Ihbeisheh <-> Tamer Seyam 61' // Sameh Mar'aba <-> Mahmoud Eid 73' // Khader Yousef <-> Pablo Tamburrini 83' //

Full Highlights and more after the jump... 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Far away from Melbourne

Thirteen thousand seven hundred and seven kilometers.

That's the distance from Jerusalem to Melbourne.  And I think we can all agree we felt the magnitude of the distance today. Not strictly in a geographic sense.

Of course I am referring to a memorable (for the wrong reasons) Asian Cup encounter with regional rivals Jordan eight months ago. The venue, Melbourne's photogenic AAMI Park stadium. Palestine took a rather expected beating from tournament favorites Japan in the group opener four days prior. Not too big a deal, we weren't expecting much of a result anyways, but we knew there was no room for dropping any more points. The lead up to the tournament was filled with mismanagement and a little bad luck, but we kept an optimistic outlook anyways.

I took my seat close to the pitch, right near the middle to witness the action up close and personal. As the game progressed, I realized I chose the worst seat in the house for that exact reason. Its never pleasant to watch your team get torn apart. The Australian fellow sitting next to me remarked (as many do ) that "playing in the Asian Cup is an achievement in itself". I explained that we are a point where we expect more - and not of delusion.

It was a big blow. All our hopes for the national team were in the hands of an incompetent football association that couldn't even give us a decent showing on the continental stage. The most zealous of fans were turned to cynics.

Fast forward to Palestine's first home match after the fiasco down under. The qualifying campaign so far has been decent to say the least. Playing away from home, Palestine was only edged by Saudi Arabia, and won by six in Malaysia. As opposed to the Asian Cup days, a capable manager has been at the helm with the resources and time to build a team. This is evident in the lineup, rather than a model overly reliant on one superstar, you have a solid group.

What we got today was a good result against one of Asia's best sides. Even better, a full stadium backing our boys. I bet the players felt a world away from Melbourne. But then again, maybe not completely. One thing you can't forget is the thousands of fans cheering until the final whistle and all the way out of AAMI Park.