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Palestine enhance Asian Cup knockout hopes after draw with UAE | AFC Asian Cup Information

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Al Wakrah, Qatar – It was an evening to recollect at Al Janoub Stadium – an evening that belonged to Palestine no matter the consequence on the pitch.

The gang’s noise, flags and numbers all had been within the favour of the crew that got here into the match with an AFC Asian Cup 2023 loss to its title and a relentless conflict on its folks.

The unrestrained present of affection and assist for the war-struck nation started earlier than kickoff, elevated because the evening wore on and quietened down solely when the final set of followers had left the stadium on the finish of Palestine’s Group C match in opposition to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Al Wakrah on Thursday evening.

Chants of “Free, free Palestine” went up in a crescendo when the gamers walked out of the tunnel and onto the pitch. The Palestinian gamers acknowledged the gang with waves and applause earlier than gathering in a huddle.

“The gamers will really feel a way of duty tonight – they have to be conscious that they’re carrying the hopes of a nation beneath conflict,” Mariana al-Hindi, a Palestinian resident of Qatar, instructed Al Jazeera forward of kickoff.

“They are going to need to put a smile on everybody’s face by doing effectively tonight,” she stated as she approached the turnstiles together with her husband and daughter.

“As Palestinians, we’re completely happy to see our nation represented and recognised at a giant occasion, however on the similar time, we’re heartbroken concerning the scenario in Gaza,” Abdullah, her husband, stated.

Mariana al-Hindi, Abdullah and their daughter exterior the stadium [Hafsa Adil/Al Jazeera]

As soon as the match kicked off, the lads in purple had been willed on by a roaring crowd.

Each contact of the ball by a Palestinian participant was cheered and each time the UAE held possession the unabashedly partisan crowd loudly booed.

Palestine loved some early possession, however the UAE quickly settled right into a rhythm and started attacking the Palestinian purpose. Their efforts bore fruit within the twenty third minute when Sultan Adil scored from a free header. The stadium fell silent for a second till a small contingent of Emirati followers started singing.

Palestine vs UAE, AFC Asian Cup, Al Janoub Stadium, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Sultan Adil celebrates scoring for the UAE [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

To not be deterred, the remainder of the gang picked up once more and urged the Palestinian crew to push for a purpose and when Oday Dabbagh was hauled down in UAE’s field 12 minutes later, the gang jumped up and pointed to the penalty spot.

The referee’s dismissal of the appeals was not taken effectively by the gang, who willed him on to run a VAR examine.

When a penalty was subsequently awarded to Palestine and Khalifa al-Hammadi was proven a purple card, the stadium stood as much as applaud the choice.

Tamer Sayem did not convert from the spot and the primary half ended with UAE nonetheless within the lead.

There was no let up in cheering throughout half-time, particularly when the intro to the music Dammi Filastini (My Blood is Palestinian) blared from the PA.

The gang was up on its dancing toes and singing alongside to the refrain – they had been all Palestinian for one evening.

Palestine vs UAE, AFC Asian Cup, Al Janoub Stadium, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Palestine followers at Al Janoub Stadium [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

When play resumed, Palestine appeared to take management of the proceedings with early strain and it bore fruit because the UAE scored an personal purpose within the forty eighth minute.

Palestine didn’t care how the purpose got here – they ran across the pitch in delight. Within the stands, it was pandemonium. Youngsters jumped on the seats, ladies hugged one another and males let the tears move when the ball went in.

“These gamers have been by way of loads, all Palestinians have been by way of loads, so this was a really particular second,” Yassine Abdullah, a Palestinian pupil, stated moments after the purpose.

“Everybody noticed what onerous work, inspiration and assist did for Morocco on the World Cup. We hope this match can do the identical for our crew,” he stated as Palestine pressed for a second purpose.

“We could possibly be the Morocco of this match.”

Palestine vs UAE, AFC Asian Cup, Al Janoub Stadium, Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
Palestine equalise by way of an personal purpose [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Regardless of their relentless assaults, the 10-man UAE crew stored Palestine at bay and held on for a 1-1 draw.

On the full-time whistle, the Palestinian gamers walked across the pitch to applaud their supporters for the electrical ambiance that stored them going all the best way till the tip.

Assad Qusais, who watched the match together with his household, stated the lads in purple might have accomplished simply sufficient to maintain some hope alive.

“It relies on they play in opposition to Hong Kong [in the last group match] however we may nonetheless make it as top-of-the-line third-placed groups,” he stated with a shrug.

Abdullah, who in contrast the assist loved by Palestine to the backing Morocco loved on the World Cup, stated he would like it if his crew replicated the same run.

The continental match and the match might not carry the burden of a World Cup, however the evening meant the world to the passionate Palestinian supporters.


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