Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Preview: Palestine vs. Iraq



What:
WAFF Group C Match
Where: King Abdullah II Stadium, Amman, Jordan
When: 1700 GMT (1900 Local Time)
TV: Al Jazeera Sport 2, Abu Dhabi Sport +2, Kuwait Sport, Iraq Sport, Oman 2, and Saudi Sport

A do-or-die match tonight for Palestine, to advance they must beat Iraq by two goals and without their defensive talisman Abdelatif Bahdari. Palestine has never beaten Iraq and the closest they came were two comeback draws in 2006 World Cup Qualifying (1-1) and 2007 Asian Cup Qualifying (2-2). Iraq's defence has looked vulnerable in the three games under new manager Wolfgang Sidka as a result of notable absentees such as Bassim Abbas (Konyaspor, Turkey), Ali Rehema (Al-Wakra, Qatar), and Salam Shakir (Al-Khor, Qatar).

In all three games under Sidka Iraq has looked very vulnerable they gave up four goals to Jordan, two (and a missed penalty) to Oman, and were put to the test against Yemen.

For Palestine's part the players will need to rebound from an emotionally and physically draining loss against Yemen. They will be without Abdelatif Bahdari and Houssam Wadi, so the starting eleven that did so well during the first half against Yemen will have to be reshuffled. There might be a reappearance of Majed Abusidu in defensive midfield with Hussam Abu Saleh slotting in a rightback. The other scenario would see Hesham Al-Salhe take Wadi's place in midfield. Haitham Dheeb is expected to replace Abdelatif Bahdari in defence.

Iraq will need to shuffle their backline as well after Mohammed Qabel received two yellow cards and an ejection against Yemen. Salih Sadir and Mahdi Karim are also out with injuries.

Probable Starting XI: Ramzi Saleh (C), Abusidu, Dheeb, Karim, Hijazi; Amour, Salhe, Khader Yousef, Obeid; Keshkesh, Attal.

Prediction: Palestine 2 Iraq 2