Sharjah: Palestine produced a steely performance to hold Syria 0-0 in their opening AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group B match at the Sharjah Stadium on Sunday.
Syria were the more dangerous as they dominated possession in the opening minutes of the game in front of a capacity crowd.
Omar Al Soma’s clever run down the left caught Palestine off guard and his cross found Omar Khrbin in the area but the 2017 AFC Player of the Year fired his effort wide.
Syria almost took the lead after seven minutes, when Palestine custodian Rami Hamada lost the ball in the area only for Khrbin to see his close-range effort cleared off the line.
Despite holding the lion’s share of possession, Syria found it hard to break down their opponents as Palestine kept their composure at the back.
Syria however continued to pile the pressure on Palestine as Hamada was called into action in the 29th minute when he produced an acrobatic save to deny Khrbin’s header.
Syria then suffered a blow in the 39th minute when Osama Omari was stretchered off the pitch after picking up an injury and replaced by Yousef Khalfa.
With a minute left in the half, Syria were given another opportunity but Al Soma couldn’t convert his free-kick as the score remained 0-0 at half-time.
Bernd Stange’s Syria continued to dominate play in the second half as they applied a more attacking approach in the hope of breaking the deadlock.
Palestine continued to frustrate their opponents as Syria continued their waves of attacks.
Noureddine Ould Ali’s side, however, suffered a setback when they went down to 10 men after Mohammed Saleh picked up his second yellow card in the 68th minute.
That, however, only increased Palestine’s resolve and with Syria failing to capitalise on their one-man advantage, both teams settled for a share of the points.
Up next for Syria are Jordan, who stunned Australia 1-0 earlier on Sunday, on Thursday while Palestine will face the defending champions a day later.
Source : AFC Asian Football Confederation Website