Historic Victory in Doha – Palestine Punched Ticket to AFC Asian Cup Round of 16

The Palestinian national football team managed to secure their place in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Round of 16. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Sammy Baroud

Against all odds, the Palestinian national football team managed to secure their place in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Round of 16. 

This event is unprecedented in the history of Palestine at Asia’s most important football tournament.  

Not only did Palestine make it into the round of 16 of the Asian Cup for the first time in their history, but they have also achieved their first Asian Cup win, and a historic win at that. 

‘Palestine Night’ 

Palestine secured the win comfortably over Hong Kong, winning 3 goals to nil with goals coming courtesy of Oday Dabbagh, who scored twice, and Zaid Qunbar. 

The Palestinian team, known as ‘Al Fidaii’ – the Freedom Fighter – had 67% possession of the ball, in addition to countless chances as they controlled much of the game. 

“It was all Palestine tonight,” the English commentator said on CBS Sports’ coverage of the game. 

The first goal came off of a beautiful cross from Mus’ab al-Batat, that was met with a textbook header from Oday Dabbagh to put the Lions of Canaan up in the 12th minute. 

Later in the 48th minute, another excellent cross from al-Batat met another beautiful header, this time from the 21-year-old Qunbar. 

Palestine went up 3-0 in the 60th minute off a beautiful shot from Tamer Seyam, which bounced off the crossbar and was slotted home by Dabbagh, one of the most accomplished Palestinian international players. 

Rami Hamedah stood on as a penalty in minute 90’+9 was missed by Everton Camargo who slammed it off the crossbar. 

Many other chances came but the score was settled 3-0 for the Palestinians, who put on a performance that fans will never forget. 

Finishing with 4 points, and a goal difference of 0, was enough to qualify the Palestinians through as one of the 3rd place teams along with Syria, which too achieved the same historic feat.  

Representing Palestine 

We anxiously wait for the group stage to finish over the coming days, to see if Palestine will play Qatar or Australia in the Round of 16. 

Now that Palestine have qualified for the Round of 16 and have finally won a match in their third ever appearance at an AFC Asian Cup, their mission for more football glory is not yet finished.  

As they say, third time’s the charm, and perhaps the charm of the Palestine national team could take them to the quarter finals next. 

Despite a genocidal Israeli war on Gaza, which killed and wounded nearly 100,000, majority of whom are women and children, since October 7, the Palestinian players represented their people proudly. 

Their victory however would have not been possible if it were for the massive support they received in Doha, as they were cheered on by tens of thousands of Palestinian, Arab and Asian fans. 

“Thank you to the fans who are coming to support Palestine,” captain Musab al-Battat told beIN SPORTS after the game.

“Thank you from our heart.”

(The Palestine Chronicle) 

– Sammy Baroud is a young Palestinian-American Sports Writer and an aspiring footballer. He contributed this article to the Palestine Chronicle. Follow him @sammybaroud

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