Doha, January 23, 2024, The Europe Today: In a landmark achievement, both Palestine and Syria clinched spots in the knockout stages of the Asian Cup for the first time, following compelling victories in their final group-stage matches on Tuesday.
Palestine asserted their dominance in Group C with a resounding 3-0 triumph over Hong Kong, solidifying their place in the last-16 as one of the top four third-placed teams. Oday Dabbagh played a pivotal role in this historic win, netting a remarkable double.
Despite initially eyeing the second position in the group, Palestine slipped to third on goal difference after a dramatic injury-time goal by UAE’s Yahya Al-Ghassani in Iran’s 2-1 victory over the United Arab Emirates. Iran topped the group with nine points.
The scoring spree for Palestine began in the 12th minute when Dabbagh skillfully powered home a header under pressure. Zeid Qunbar extended the lead with a well-placed header across the goal. Dabbagh sealed the victory with his second goal, being at the right place and time to tap in a rebound after Tamer Seyam’s curling strike hit the crossbar.
The Asian football community celebrates these historic achievements, marking a significant milestone for both Palestine and Syria in their respective journeys through the prestigious tournament. The knockout stages promise heightened excitement as these emerging teams continue to make their mark on the continental stage.