The Palestinian Men’s National Football Team emerged as 3rd place winners in the PFF Peace Cup 2014 after a high-pressure match against Chinese Taipei.
Palestinian forward Ahmed M.M. Wridat scored a hat trick in the second period of Added Extra Time (AET) to edge Chinese Taipei 7-3.
Palestine’s Javier A.A. Merelles opened goal scoring in the 5th minute, followed by Wridat’s first goal in the 8th minute.
Goal scoring stood still for the rest of the first half, with Palestine missing a penalty kick.
Not to be outdone, Taiwanese substitute Wu Chun-Ching scored off a penalty on the 53rd minute to put them on the scoreboard.
The Taiwanese side leveled the scoreline through a finish by Yen Ho-Shen on the 76th minute after Palestinian goalkeeper and captain Ramzi S.A. Suleh was unable to secure the ball off a throw in from the opposing squad.
Taiwanese midfielder Chiu Yu-Hung capitalized on Palestine’s inability to clear the ball at the goalmouth to put his side in the lead.
Not wanting to go home empty-handed, Palestinian midfielder Abdulhamid F.M. Abuhabib capitalized on Taiwanese goalkeeper Pan Wei-Chin’s error and scored Palestine’s third goal, which eventually sent the match into Added Extra Time.
After a scoreless 15 minute period, Wridat broke the deadlock in the 107th minute. Abdallatif M.S. Albahdari further secured the lead two minutes later, while fatigue and discouragement seemed to get the better of the Chinese Taipei squad.
Wridat’s two goals on the 112th and 117th minutes left the demoralized Chinese Taipei side with no choice but to settle for a final score of 7-3, with Palestine taking home the bronze.
Wridat, who flew in from Saudi Arabia just a day before this match, was unable to participate in Palestine’s 4-1 loss to Myanmar last Wednesday.
“We are happy that we were able to do good things for our country through winning today,” said Palestinian player Raed MK Fares in Arabic.
Palestinian head coach Jamal M. A. Mahmoud expressed his delight with his squad’s performance despite the team’s lack of preparations attributed to the ongoing war in Palestine.
“Our team was incomplete. Some of our players are in Gaza and were unable to join us. We also lacked preparations but we are happy with the outcome.”
Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei’s head coach Chen Kuei-Jen is hopeful that his young squad will improve. “Most of our players are inexperienced. There is still much to be done,” he said.