Wednesday’s international friendly pitted a weakened Palestine squad against hosts India at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi, Kerala.
Home team advantage couldn’t help India who conceded to Palestine’s offensive tactics in the second half. Palestinian midfielder Ashraf Alfawaghra disappointed the crowd of 15,000 by scoring a hat-trick and carrying his team to an undisputed 4-2 victory.
India started strong in the opening minutes of the first half after Clifford Miranda scored in the 17th minute. Alfawaghra equalized it to one apiece in the 30th minute but India once again took the lead after Syed Rahim Nabi headed the ball off of a corner kick to score in the 39th minute.
The second half began in Palestine’s favor as Hussam Abusalah found the back of the net in the 47th minute. Abusalah attempted another break in the 51st minute but was taken down by Nabi who was called for the foul. Aflawaghra capitalized on the penalty kick, putting Palestine in the lead 3-2.
Palestine focused much of their play in the middle and took advantage of India’s loose defense to break ahead in the 66th minute. Alfawaghra scored his hit-trick after cutting in from the right and fighting through India’s defenders to take Palestine’s lead up to 4-2.
India showed signs of life near the end of the match when substitute midfielder Jewel Raja took a shot that went wide by only a few inches.
17′ Clifford MIRANDA (India)
30′ Ashraf ALFAWAGHRA (Palestine)
39′ Syed NABI (India)
47′ Hussam ABUSALAH (Palestine)
51′ (PK) Ashraf ALFAWAGHRA (Palestine)
66′ Ashraf ALFAWAGHRA (Palestine)
Player of the match: Ashraf ALFAWAGHRA (Palestine)