Match Day 1 losses from both Jordan and Palestine opened a huge window of opportunity of what could be achieved with three points. And after a week of comedic preparations featuring hypothermia in Brisbane anything could happen.
This new wave of optimism drove Palestinian supporters to arrive in their hundreds way out numbering the opposition Jordanian fans. The River End Terrace was alive with chants of “Free, Free Palestine”, drumming and singing which echoed throughout the bubble area.
From the opening chirp, Palestine took upon the game right up to Jordan’s line. Hisham Salhi began with a long-shot from outside the box forcing the keeper into a desperate jumping save and sending an infectious hunger to attack to the rest of his countrymen.
Chances were not the issue for Palestine who with a certain degree of precision held control of most of the football. Through the middle they controlled, on the wing they chipped; though too often leaving the ball at the feet of a stunned striker who in his daze would tap the ball out of play. Finishing was the word of the day.
Palestine’s inability to seize chances meant the despite their dominant opening thirty minutes, it took Jordan’s Mohammad Yousef just ten seconds to shimmy left, step over a defender and curve a beautiful shot into the net to leave Palestine for dead.
And as quick as that, Palestine fell as Jordan added another goal within a minute and then another to welcome in the half-time break. In a matter of moments an exciting 0-0 scoreline had turned to a 3-0 drubbing.
The second half was just as sluggish. Jordan with confidence behind them continued to press high, make runs and continued to score goals. Hamza Al Dardour adding another two goals to his double in the first period, contributing a 4/5 goals scored for Jordan.
But chances still came, and went. Came again, and wen again. As a deflated Palestine watched and waited until the last five minutes of the game for their conciliation goal to come.
FULL TIME / JOR 5 – 1 PLE
Written by a very jetlagged Jacob Arnott. Photos by Aleksandar Jason.