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Palestine trounce Bangladesh 5-0

Published : 23 Mar 2024 01:46 AM

Gazing upon the stands, one could scarcely believe that Bangladesh was not on home turf. Kuwait City’s Jaber Al-Ahmad Stadium on Thursday night transformed into a makeshift Bangladeshi arena, filled with groups of expatriate fans.

Yet, the stadium, primarily hosting World Cup qualifiers, also saw a significant presence of Palestinian supporters. They arrived bearing numerous placards calling for Palestine’s liberation and eagerly anticipating a Palestinian triumph. Their hopes were not dashed; Palestine celebrated a resounding 5-0 win over Bangladesh.

This victory marked a historic first, as Palestine had never before secured such a decisive win against Bangladesh. Of their six prior encounters, only the first had ended in a stalemate, with Bangladesh facing defeat in all subsequent matches. Yet, Palestine had never managed to net more than two goals against Bangladesh in a single game until Thursday’s exceptional outcome. The staggering five-goal defeat was an outcome Bangladesh likely never envisioned as they prepared to depart Kuwait.

Bangladesh did, however, put up a commendable fight in the match’s initial 40 minutes, even crafting chances to score. Had Rakib been correctly positioned for Faisal Ahmed’s cross, a goal might have materialized. Sohel Rana found himself unmarked following Faisal’s cutback, but astonishingly, he sent the ball wide despite being well-placed to target the post.

If Sohel Rana and Rakib could find the net, the scenario would have been different. Conversely, the match’s complexion shifted dramatically in the final five minutes of the first half. A lapse in defense allowed Javier Cabrera’s squad to concede two quick goals.

 The onslaught continued post-interval, with a third goal conceded at the 48-minute mark, leading tothree goals being surrendered in roughly ten minutes. The fourth

 goal followed at 52 minutes, signaling the unraveling of the Bangladesh team. Oday Dabbagh notched a hat-trick by the end, with Shehab Qumbor contributing the other two goals.

In the previous January-February period, the Palestinian team had showcased impressive football skills in the Asian Cup, advancing to the last sixteen for the first time, where they narrowly lost to Qatar 2-1 despite an early lead. Consequently, Bangladesh approached the match with heightened caution against a Palestinian team celebrated for its Asian Cup performance. Ultimately, Bangladesh conceded defeat to the physically imposing Palestinians, towering over six feet tall.

The Palestinian strategy hinged on penetrating Bangladesh’s defense with long balls—a tactic that proved effective. The opening twenty minutes could have seen multiple goals had Oday Dabbagh managed to convert a clear chance, but his attempt soared over the bar. Islam Batran similarly failed to capitalize on an open goal, his shot also rising above.

Oday Dabbagh broke the deadlock before the interval, deftly placing the ball into the net from a left-wing cross. Shehab Qumbor quickly doubled the lead to 2-0 from a corner kick. Bangladesh’s defense was caught off guard for both goals. Qumbor claimed the third goal, slipping the ball past Bangladesh’s defenders. Dabbagh added the fourth, and following this quartet of goals, Palestine comfortably controlled the remainder of the match. The coach withdrew three defenders, possibly to rest them ahead of the return fixture in Dhaka on March 25th.

The disparity in rankings between the two nations is stark, with Palestine at 97 and Bangladesh at 183 in FIFA’s standings. Thus, the defeat, while heavy, was not entirely unexpected. Despite a preparatory camp in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh’s efforts bore no fruit. As the match slipped away, Suman Reza, Mojibur Rahman, and Chandan Roy were called into action, with the latter making his debut. Yet, the team failed to secure even a solitary goal of consolation. This loss marks Bangladesh’s second in the World Cup qualifiers, following a 7-0 defeat to Australia and a 1-1 draw with Lebanon. In contrast, the Palestinian team, after drawing with Lebanon and losing 1-0 to Australia, clinched a triumphant three points from the match against Bangladesh—a splendid outcome indeed for the war-torn nation!