Friday, June 4, 2010

Palestine vs Sudan: Match Recap


Amidst stifling heat and humidity in Omdurman, the Palestinian National team managed to do just enough to escape with a 1-1 draw. Due to the conditions much of the match was played in spurts with long lulls in the action. Al-Fursan lined up with Ramzi Saleh in goal but without Fadi Lafi who suffered an injury in training and without Mohammed Samara who was unable to make the trip due to issues with his passport. As a result of these absences, Palestine struggled to create many chances or control the pace of the game.

The game started off with Sudan looking like the better side as their players managed to turn defense into attack with ease. The Desert Hawks took the lead with the first real chance of the game. Tareq Mokhtar powerfully headed a corner in to the back of the net after Abdelatif Bahdari's stumble left him wide open. Bahdari would be the protagonist once again as he almost headed home an equalizer on the other end only to put the ball wide with keeper on the ground.

Palestine's breakthrough came just before the half. Fahed Attal's hard work paid off as he won the ball in the air and set up a streaking Mohammed Jamal for his first international goal on his debut.

There was little action in the second half to speak of as substitutions and the heat served to break any rhythm established by the two sides. Palestine had a goal by Fahed Attal ruled out as Abdelatif Bahdari was judged to be offside. Majed Abusidu came close with a free kick that just grazed the crossbar. Palestine made a late push in injury time to find a winner coming close through debutant Atef Abu Bilal, the Shabab Al-Khaleel winger going just wide despite having time and space at the edge of the area.
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Thoughts
So it ended 1-1, Palestine still searching to end their drought without a win (a drought that stretches back to April 2006). It wasn't a convincing performance but should serve us well with the WAFF Championship fast approaching. The defense played well, and despite Bahdari's snafu he continues to look better and better every time he dons a Palestine shirt. Abusidu didn't roam forward and his passes were wasted by players whose first touch could be described as poor at best. The team did well to nick an opportunistic goal, and the defence actually kept Ramzi Saleh unoccupied... When's the last time you heard Saleh and unoccupied in the same sentence?

What is painfully clear is that when this team isn't featuring the likes of Abdala, Samara, Zatara, Kettlun, and yes even Amour the midfield is a complete and utter disaster. And the fact of the matter is that teams have won with poor GKs (Brazil 1994), poor defenses (Germany, 1954) and even poor forwards (Greece Euro 2004) but no team can win with a poor midfield. If we can get the aforementioned players into camp I think we could do something special. If not, well I can't say I expect much.