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AFC Asian Cup: History makers Palestine qualify for knockouts for first time

InternationalFootballAFC Asian Cup: History makers Palestine qualify for knockouts for first time

Srinagar: Palestine football team have made history by qualifying for the knockout round of AFC Asian Cup for the first time in the tournaments history.

Palestine on Tuesday beat Hong Kong 3-0 to qualify.

Although narrowly missing out on the second spot in Group C, Palestine advance as one of the four best third-placed teams. Oday Dabbagh emerged as the hero with his two-goal contribution to the historic win.

Despite losing 2-1 to group winners Iran, the United Arab Emirates secured their place in the next round by finishing second in the group.

“Thank you to the fans who are coming to support Palestine and the national team of Palestine. Thank you from our heart,” captain Musab Al-Battat told beIN SPORTS after the game.

“We will do our best to put a smile for the people.”

Palestinian players and staff, who have experienced personal losses in the ongoing conflict, expressed their desire before the tournament to provide solace to those facing hardships back home.

A pre-match moment of silence was disrupted by chants of “Free Palestine.”

Neither Hong Kong (12 games) nor Palestine (eight) had secured a win in more Asian Cup matches than any other team. However, a victory in this match would open up an opportunity for either side to advance to the Round of 16.

Throughout the game, the 6,568 spectators inside the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium overwhelmingly supported Palestine, consistent with the backing the team has received in most venues during their campaign.

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