It was a dogfight indeed between the Philippine Azkals and the Palestine Fighters, though it ended in a scoreless draw. With the result, the Azkals now face a must-win situation on Friday against Bangladesh.
Winning against Bangladesh 2-0, getting their best ever FIFA 115th world ranking are just some of the factors that have been giving team Palestine the momentum to do better than their quarterfinals finish in the 2006 AFC Challenge Cup. They have their awesome core of Captain and Keeper Ramzi Saleh and top scorer Murad Alyan who delivered the two goals against Bangladesh and Fahed Attal who is one of the best scorers in their program's history.
When at home, the Palestine "Al Fusan" are confronted by their country's instability, strict borders, and other concerns so football serves as an escape from all the conflict. They came to the AFC Challenge Cup Group stages with purpose, and are holding on to the top spot in the group of four. The top two teams will advance to the next stage and the Palestinians are virtually shoo-ins with four points amassed already.
Despite the potential threats the Palestine Fighters posed, the Azkals still managed to fend them off. But on the offensive, despite the Azkals efforts, the RP booters failed to capitalize and ended the match with a scoreless draw. It could've been better, but it also could've been worse.
The Azkals are on a win or go home situation in their final match of the group stage where they are currently 2nd. They drew Myanmar in their first game 1-1.
The Friday game against Bangladesh will determine if the Philippine team will move on or go home, but also the result of the Bangladesh-Myanmar tiff will have implications.