Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Siliguri: Ashraf Nu'man proved once again to be India's nemesis as the Saudi Arabia-based star scored one and set up another as Palestine continued their preparations for their first ever AFC Asian Cup finals appearance with a 3-2 friendly winner over India.
Nu'man, who scored a hat-trick when Palestine defeated India 4-2 in a friendly in Kochi last February, opened the scoring with eight minutes of Monday's match at the Kanchejunga Stadium played before goals from Sunil Chhetri (32nd) and Francis Fernandes (36th) gave the home side a 2-1 lead to take into the interval.
Ahmed Wridat restored parity ten minutes into the second half after being set up by Nu'man, whose 59th minute winner against the Philippines secured Palestine the last-ever AFC Challenge Cup title and with it a ticket to Australia 2015, before Khader Abuhammad's deflected strike in the 72nd minute ultimately consigned India to the defeat that marked the end of Dutchman Wim Koevermans' tenure as head coach.
Palestine, who themselves are in the market for a new head coach following the resignation of Jamal Mahmoud, will open their AFC Asian Cup 2015 campaign against defending champions Japan on January 12 at the Newcastle Stadium. They also have 2007 Asian Cup winners Iraq and neighbours Jordan for company in Group D.