Saturday, December 17, 2011

Preview: Palestine vs. Sudan (Pan Arab Games)

What: 2011 Pan Arab Games
When: December 17, 200 [today]
Where: Al-Rayyan Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Kickoff: 1430 GMT
TV: Al-Jazeera Sports // Al-Kass TV

Previous Meetings:

4/6/2010 Sudan 1:1 Palestine

Palestine gave Sudan an early lead after a (literal) defensive slip up left Tareq Mokhtar free to head in a corner. Mohammed Jamal pulled one back on his debut but the match was to end 1-1 with neither team able to overcome the stifling heat in Omdurman.

23/12/2002 Palestine 2:2 Sudan

Palestine twice took the lead only to surrender equalizers in what would become the theme of their Arab Nations Cup campaign. Fadi Salim opened the scoring after 31 minutes and got a quick reply through Ziyad Al-Kord in the second half after Sudan had equalized. After looking set to grab their first win of the campaign they were made to settle for a draw thanks to Tajjedinne Al-Tijani's 88th minute equalizer.

Last Round:

Sudan 0:0 Jordan

Palestine 1:1 Libya

Wednesday's results means all four teams are in with a chance of qualifying for the semifinal stage. Conversely, no team is safe from elimination. Palestine stayed alive after a dramatic late equalizer courtesy of Imad Zatara. Neither Jordan nor Sudan could seal a place as they played out a drab 0-0 draw.

The Opponent: Sudan are suffering from a crisis in front of goal. Their inability to score or even carve out chances has been on full display during this tournament. Sudan have opted for a compact approach in order to overcome their offensive impotence and it has worked so far (although they were fortunate to get a win against Libya). Expect the same approach tomorrow as the Desert Hawks know that another 0-0 result would be good enough to advance (barring a two goal Libya win over Jordan).

Tactical Change? Jamal Mahmoud has shown he isn't shy about changing his lineup and with Husam Abu Saleh and Ismail Amour returning from suspension there could be more shakeups. Palestine went for a 4-2-3-1 against Jordan and then switched to a 4-4-2 against Libya with Murad Alyan lining up next to Khaled Salem. Expect Mahmoud to tinker with the lineup yet again in order to ensure Palestine has a chance at a two-goal win and progression.