Asian Cup 2019: Australia's Socceroos bounce back with win over Palestine
After a heroic draw with Syria in the first match of the Asian Cup, the Palestine national team played Australia on Friday afternoon, who previously lost to Jordan.
Palestine arrived at the match with great hopes and motivation, looking to snatch another surprise win and some more points in their quest to qualify for the second round in the competition.
Read also: Asia Cup 2019 - Your guide to the Middle East's teams
At least 11,250 fans, most of them Palestinians, were gathered in the stands of Dubai's Al-Maktoum Stadium.
But not too long after the opening whistle, Palestine was given a reality check. It took the Aussies only 18 minutes to go up on the scoreboard when Jamie MacLaren headed home a great lob to Celtic's Tom Rogic.
The Palestinians were in a state of shock, and just two minutes later, Awer Mabil, a Sudanese-born forward, scored from within the box making it 2-0 for the Socceroos.
Palestine was falling the apart. There were no signs of the impressive performance against the Syrians.
The first half ended in 2-0 with a shambolic statistic line of only 35 percent possession, 0 shots, 0 shots on target, 0 corners, eight fouls and one yellow card. These are not the numbers you want when playing against the champions of Asia.
In the second half, Palestine stabilised the defence a bit more, but still could not bring up their game. The stars of the previous match, Abdelatif Al-Bahadari, Abdallah Jaber and Rami Hamadeh were not as sharp as they were on Sunday.
Australia controlled the pace, kept threatening the goal and found the back of the net for the third time in the 90th minute with Greek-Australian, Apostolis Giannou taking the shot.
It was 3-0 for Australia in the final whistle and a stark reminder for the rest of the teams in the tournament that the champions are yet to give away their title.
Palestine now need to beat Jordan, or hope for a Syrian victory in order to stay in the competition. This will be tough.