Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Preview: Palestine vs. Libya (Pan Arab Games)

What: Pan-Arab Games (Group C Match)

When: December 14, 2011 [Today]

Where: Gharafa Stadium, Doha, Qatar

Kick-off: 16.30 GMT

TV: Al-Jazeera Sport // Al-Kass TV

Previous Meetings:

25/8/1999 Palestine 2:2 Libya

Palestine scored the quickest goal in the history of the Pan-Arab Games to take a 1-0 lead through Ibrahim Munasarah. Saeb Jendeya scored his first (and only) international goal deep into injury time. The 40-yard screamer ensured Palestine would qualify for the semifinals of the 1999 Pan Arab Games.

Last Round:

Palestine 1-4 Jordan

Libya 0-1 Sudan

Palestine and Libya suffered similar fates when the teams kicked off Group C on Sunday. Palestine fell victim to a lack of concentration giving up three goals from set pieces despite playing some attractive football in the first half. Libya was organized and defended well against Sudan but a moment of madness allowed Sudan to nick a goal deep in the second half. That goal would prove to be the decider as Libya failed to capitalize on their scoring chances late in the game.

The Opponent: Libya has never been known for its footballing prowess. Its most famous footballer is still Saadi Al-Qadhafi who took nepotism and despotism to another level. With a new flag and new uniforms free of the Qadhafis favorite color Libya managed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations. Manager Marcos Paqueta has fashioned a side that emphasizes organization and defensive stoutness. Libya seem to lack a real poacher in front of goal- the three forwards they called up for their final CAN qualifier had a meager 8 goals in 63 combined caps. That said, this team is more than capable of grinding out a result; In qualifying for CAN 2012, Libya followed the traditional roadmap drawing all their away games and winning all their home ties. Looking ahead, facing Libya might be good preparation for a potential meeting with Korea DPR in the knockout stages of the Challenge Cup.

Reshuffled Line-up: Palestine will be without Ismail Amour and Husam Abu Saleh after they both picked up red cards against Jordan. Ahmed Harbi is expected to take Abu Saleh's place at right back which would leave Mahmoud with a choice of who to play alongside Haitham Dheeb. It could be Mohammed Al-Masri if he has recovered from the injury he picked up in the 1-0 win over Bahrain. If not, the matter gets a little more complicated- he could field Nadim Barghouthi- who joined up with the national team after training camp or he could opt to play Murad Ismail in defence. There could be more changes further up the pitch with Jamal Mahmoud promising to deal with players he deemed as 'complacent'.