Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Melbourne: Palestine may have netted their historic first-ever goal at an AFC Asian Cup against Jordan, but coach Ahmed Al Hassan was left to rue the fact it only arrived towards the end of Friday’s 5-1 defeat at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.
Continental debutants Palestine had made a positive start looking to bounce back from Monday’s 4-0 defeat by defending champions Japan, but after Yousef Ahmad opened the scoring for Jordan 12 minutes before the break, Hamza Al Dardour scored twice either side of half-time to seal the win.
Jaka Hbaisha was able to scramble home Palestine’s first AFC Asian Cup goal with five minutes remaining to the delight of the majority of the 10,000 crowd, but it was not enough to keep Al Hassan’s side in the qualification picture in Group D.
“We lost because we didn't score in the opening 25 minutes of the first half and then we conceded two goals in two minutes,” said Al Hassan.
“It was very difficult because we played better and had several chances and came close to scoring, but maybe the luck was not with us.”
Palestine qualified for a first-ever AFC Asian Cup appearance after winning last year’s AFC Challenge Cup, but as one of the lowest ranked teams in Australia, Al Hassan’s side have found the step up in class difficult despite producing spirited displays against both four-time winners Japan and two-time quarter-finalists Jordan.
“We wanted to play better and have a good tournament, but we didn't score in the first half and scored just once,” added Al Hassan.
“I am very happy with the fans because they have supported us and have encouraged us in every game. We want to play well in the next game for them.”
Following a second consecutive defeat, Palestine will round off their maiden continental campaign against 2007 winners Iraq in Canberra, although Al Hassan’s are no longer able to progress to the knockout stage.
“We have lost the chance to go to the second round and we will look to have a good game against Iraq and get a win.”