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Ould Ali not giving up hope of Palestine progressing

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Palestine acknowledge their fans after the match against Jordan at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Abu Dhabi: Palestine head coach Noureddine Ould Ali has not given up hope of qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Round of 16 following Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Group B winners Jordan.

The stalemate, coupled with Syria’s last gasp loss to Australia, saw Palestine finish third in the group on two points and still in contention for a place in the next round ahead of Matchday Three action in four more groups.

Despite Palestine being forced to play a potentially nervy waiting game, Ould Ali was quick to declare that he was more than happy to be in such a position, especially given the difficult nature of the group his team were in.

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“We are satisfied and happy with the result we achieved today,” he said.

“In the end we only needed one goal to [definitely] qualify, but we are now hoping that this point will prove enough for us to go through.

“We still must wait to see exactly what the results are elsewhere, but if there are draws in two of the groups involving the other teams not certain of qualifying, we will progress.

“Our group was very difficult. Jordan are a very good team, and Australia played at last year’s FIFA World Cup. I am very pleased with my players.”


Match Highlights - January 15

Ould Ali was also quick to declare that the coming days will be a case of normal service resumed for his squad, saying: “We will be watching all the games, and our training will be as normal. We will carry on as if we are going to qualify. If we do go through, we will be more than ready for any game we have to play. We will be ready for any possibility.

“But if we do not [qualify], it will be a case of bad luck for my team and we will congratulate the other teams who have reached the Round of 16.”

Meanwhile, Jordan head coach Vital Borkelmans feels his side have performed admirably en route to the Group B summit, adding that the West Asians are confident of progressing even further in the tournament.

“I am happy as a coach, we got seven points and three clean sheets, something I would have taken before the tournament,” explained the former Belgium national team assistant coach.

“We do not know our Round of 16 opponents yet, but I know that we have already started working. My players have a lot of confidence and they are positive.

“I hope we can do something in the next round. Indeed, every round we progress to, we will have the confidence to go even further.”

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