Palestine scored twice in stoppage time to emerge Group A champions of the Bangabandhu Gold Cup following a hard-fought 2-0 win over Sri Lanka at the Bangabandhu National Stadium yesterday.
Now the group runners-up will be decided through Sunday’s match between Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh, who also suffered a 2-0 defeat to Palestine.
Sri Lanka kept Palestine at bay for 90 minutes, thanks to some bold performance from the defence and goalkeeper Herath Pranath. However, the 205th-ranked side eventually failed to keep the 106th-ranked side from winning.
Palestine took to the field with five of their players, who had played against Bangladesh, on the bench.
The defending champions failed to break the opposition defence in the first half before coach Makram Daboub sent three pairs of fresh legs who were part of the playing eleven against Bangladesh.
The three experienced players mounted huge pressure on the Sri Lankan defence, which eventually collapsed. The tournament favourites broke the deadlock in the second minute of stoppage time through a spectacular diving header from captain Mohamoud Abuwarda off a well-judged cross from Sameh Maraaba.
Three minutes later, substitute Khaled Salem, who had scored one against Bangladesh, placed a through-pass from Dawoud Iraqi home to give his side all three points. (Courtesy The Daily Star)