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Palestine Starting XI - vs. Malaysia (A).

Palestine Starting XI – vs. Malaysia (A).

Palestine’s 6-0 win against Malaysia yesterday was a brilliant way to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss in Dammam a few days ago. Mohammad Al-Sahlawi’s brilliance was unstoppable in the end, despite Palestine’s hard-fought comeback from 2-0 down. Let’s look at what the reaction was from one of Palestine’s newspaper outlets: “Al-Ayyam”.

The title in itself looks showcases the sheer passion and happiness that stemmed from supporting the Palestinian national team, known as the “Fida’i” (Self-Sacrificers) and always, always putting country first. An Asian Cup exit with 0 points was tough to deal with however there were a few key players missing from the line-up after being detained; namely Sameh Maraebeh. Maraebeh was unable to attend the Asian Cup however he scored a brace in this game to turn heads around to speak of a brilliant story on the attacker’s journey until now.

“An elegant, sophisticated attacking performance” wrote Ashraf Matar of Al-Ayyam. “Bringing in two players into the starting line-up in Tamer Seyam and Sameh Maraebeh was a masterstroke” and it proved a brilliant asset to the Palestinian team. All the attackers had great skill and technical ability on display and that was the key to their win. Matar also emphasized on the performance of Tamer Seyam who was playing in his “best condition: technically, physically and tactically.”

“Tawfiq Ali handled all the incoming shots from Malaysia very well, and as soon as Malaysia began to assert themselves into the game Barakat brought on Khodor Youssef to enhance the midfield, and enhance it he did. Youssef’s control of the midfield resulted in Matias Jadue helping to add another goal up front”.


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UAE Starting XI - vs. Timor-Leste.

UAE Starting XI – vs. Timor-Leste.

After a change in positions from the engineer Mahdi Ali, the UAE struggled to get past a well oiled Timor-Leste defence in front of 200 fans at the Shah Alam stadium. No longer did we find Ali Mabkhout cutting in from the left and Ismail Al-Hammadi on the right, as the latter took up a position on the left while Amoory was shifted out to the right of midfield. Ahmad Khalil, surprisingly, played behind Ali Mabkhout as a central attacking midfielder, to add physical and defensive ability in between midfield and attack.

Al-Khaleej: “The goal came after a plethora of complications encountered by the UAE attack against a bunch of naturalized Brazilians, aiming to grab a point at best after their 1-1 draw with Malaysia. Our nation did not produce a good performance by any means, however the three points were enough.”

The reason the three points were enough were due to an enduring season for many Emirati players who had to play in the Arabian Gulf League, Arabian Gulf Cup, Presidents Cup, Arabian Gulf Super Cup, Asian Champions League, Gulf Champions League, Gulf Cup of Nations and Asian Cup of Nations. Take into account that some players only played their last game a week ago in the Presidents Cup Final.

In the end, “after a pass from Abdulaziz Sanqour, Omar Abdulrahman simply turned and hit a rocket of a shot to announce our 1-0 lead. The problem was solved,” by none other than Amoory.

A video of Amoory’s goal:


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Iraq FPG: “The Iraqi Football Association accepted the apology from Akram Salman as he claims he could not go on as Iraq manager anymore, as Yahya Alwan takes over the team for the friendly against Syria”. The manager surrounded with controversy (Read here, by @HassaninMubarak : has left his position to the delight of the Iraqi faithful.

Kamil Zaghir, spokesman of the Iraq FA, claimed that “there is no doubt that a foreign manager is next on our list. We will sign with one inevitably.” Zaghir also revealed that 3 months of Akram Salman’s salary had been paid, before talking about the decisions made by the Iraq FA in terms of the technical staff. Olympic team manager Yahya Alwan and his staff room will be joining him in managing the senior team for a single match.

Ironically, Radhi Shnaishel, the man to take Iraq to the Asian Cup semi-finals had just signed a new contract with Qatar SC yesterday signaling the strong connections he possesses with the board of the club. This is definitely a reason that Shnaishel opted to stay in Qatar, as his top four finish with the team can be further improved on to winning titles as the Qatar SC administration were “key to helping us get past the obstacle of a poor start to the 2014-15 season.” According to our Iraqi football writer @HassaninMubarak:

And, funnily enough, as I am writing this – it seems that FIFA have cancelled the friendly between Iraq and Syria. Tough times coming for a team who achieved so much merely 6 months ago.


Syria defeated Afghanistan 6-0 in their first World Cup Qualifier / Asian Cup Qualifier match in Iran. They were a gulf in class better than the Afghan team, and without a doubt it provided a smile onto every Syrian’s face no matter the quality of the opposition. Omar Al-Soma was definitely not missed for such a big match, as Syria were disqualified from the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers and never got the chance to prove themselves after issues caused by commanding striker George Mourad.

“Despite our senior national team getting the great amount of support from different committees and media outlets,” wrote Nasser Al-Najjar for Al-Watan “Don’t our U-17 team also need support after qualifying for the U-17 World Cup in Chile this October?”

Clearly, the Syrian Football Association has not been rid of any problems with the Omar Al-Soma saga looking endless at the current point in time. First of all, Al-Najjar set out a trio of objectives for the Syrian national team for their upcoming games, especially after the overreaction towards Japan’s dropped points against Singapore.

“First of all, the national team has to be separated from all arguments and differences. Secondly, the national team should play a game every 15 days to take care of the readiness and adaptation of the team and squad harmony. Thirdly, the choice of teams to face in a friendly should come within the criteria of similar style and weather conditions of the teams our Syria will play in the group, specifically East Asian teams to get used to the heat and humidity in those countries.”

There is high optimism for the youth teams to qualify for the Asian Championship (U-16 and U-19) and we may see the re-emergence of Syria as a dark horse sooner or later should conditions improve.

About Hamoudi

The man behind the idea of Based in Dubai, Hamoudi will bring you an unprecedented level of coverage of the Alfa Lebanese League in English as well as the best of the UAE’s Arabian Gulf League. With dreams of working in the coaching industry in the near future, don’t be surprised by the amount of tactical analysis that he works on to bring in a modern day feel to the very scarce analysis on Middle Eastern Football. (PS: Beware of his rants about the ignominious status of football in his native country Lebanon…).

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