Kyrgyz Republic, Palestine settle for draw
Bishkek: Kyrgyz Republic and Palestine continued their respective AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 build-ups, playing out an entertaining 1-1 draw in the Kyrgyz capital on Thursday.
Mirlan Murzaev had the hosts in front in the blink of an eye, before a header from teenage striker Oday Dabbagh gave Palestine a deserved share of the spoils just before half time.
Many of the fans at Dolon Omarzukov Stadium were still finding their seats when the home side took the lead, as Kyrgyz Republic captain Murzaev punished opposite number Abdallatif Albahdari's stumble to easily beat Tawfiq Abuhammad in just the second minute.
It was a case of he came, he scored, he absconded for Murazev, whose evening ended after just six minutes, as Palestine quickly settled into the role of aggressors, taking the game to their Central Asian hosts.
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Yaser Islame and Pablo Bravo both came close to equalising for the visitors, but the leveller came in the 39th minute through 19-year-old Dabbagh, who benefitted from Islam Batran's superb build-up play to nod home a simple back post header.
Palestine's ascendancy continued into the early part of the second half, with only a series of saves from Pavel Matiash - including a blinder to deny Mahmoud Wadi in the 68th minute - keeping the sides level.
But Kyrgyz Republic substitute Akhmedov Murolimzhon hit the woodwork with a 35-yard missile, and a potentially goal-bound effort from Sagynbaev Bekzhan was blocked by Albahdari.
The Palestine skipper was sent off for a second bookable offence moments later, but the hosts were unable to capitalise on their brief numerical advantage.
Kyrgyz Republic's preparations for their first ever AFC Asian Cup Finals continue at the same venue against Syria on Monday, while Palestine, who qualified for the first time in 2015, travel to Doha to face Qatar.
Uzbekistan and Syria also played to a 1-1 draw in their international friendly as both team continue their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
In other friendlies, the United Arab Emirates lost 2-0 to Trinidad & Tobago while Lebanon scored a morale boosting 1-0 win over Jordan.
The Philippines and Bahrain played to a 1-1 draw.
Meanwhile, the Japan-Chile friendly in Sapporo on Friday has been called off following the earthquake on the northern island of Hokkaido.
Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido where as many as 30 people are feared buried under earth and rubble after the 6.6-magnitude quake sparked numerous mudslides.
The Japan Football Association said the quake had damaged infrastructure such as "electricity and transport" and the cancellation was necessary to "ensure the safety of fans".
Photos: Kyrgyz Republic Football Federation
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