Syria vs Palestine
Competition: AFC Asian Cup
Date: 6 January 2019
Kick-off: 17:00 CET
It must feel very weird being a Syria international these days, these last years actually, with the team having touched the miracle of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Be reminded, they reached Asia’s playoffs, only to lose to Australia in dramatic fashion. This may look… insane to us watching from a distance, but it’s a common secret that there are Syrians who don’t enjoy seeing their national team do so well (hence the “weird” in the opening line), not because they have something against football as a sport and these players personally, but because this team’s successes are perceived as an indirect… validation of the regime, the people who run the country. Politics-aside, this Syria side is one of the dark horses in this Asian Cup. They are considered a team capable of finishing second in the group, reaching the last 16, maybe even going further than that, but on the other hand, no one can rule out a… collapse, a fourth finish in their group. Omar Al-Soma will be very interesting to watch; the 29-year-old Al-Ahli center-forward has been performing miracles in Saudi Arabia for years now, scoring almost one goal per game. Syria are coached by German Bernd Stange, who has been in charge since February 2018.
Four years ago, Palestine made their AFC Asian Cup debut, finishing last in their group, scoring just one goal. At number 16 right now, in the AFC’s rankings (99 in FIFA’s), their realistic target is to go one step further than four years ago, finish in the top two of their group, be in the last 16. On the other hand, it should be mentioned that last time they beat a “serious” opponent, in other words, a team that is present in this Asian Cup edition, was in June 2017, when they beat Oman 2-1. Ever since then, they have – of course – won games, but only over much weaker sides, teams that are not among the 24 present in the UAE these days. Coach Noureddine Ould Ali has chosen several players who make a living playing abroad, including North Carolina-born Nazmi Albadawi, a 27-year-old attacking midfielder, who will be playing in the MLS soon, wearing FC Cincinnati’s jersey.
Previous five matches:
Yemen vs Syria 0-1
Kuwait vs Syria 1-2
Oman vs Syria 1-1
China vs Syria 2-0
Bahrain vs Syria 0-1
Kyrgyzstan vs Palestine 2-1
Iraq vs Palestine 1-0
Palestine vs Iran 1-1
China vs Palestine 1-1
Palestine vs Pakistan 2-1
Syria’s next game is on Thursday, against Jordan. Palestine will be facing Australia a day later.
Syria vs Palestine: Head to head Stats
Syria and Palestine have faced each other 10 times in the past, the Syrians have won half those matches, four ended in a draw, and just one went Palestine’s way. Total goals, 15-8. Palestine’s victory came in one of the two games these two have played against each other on neutral ground.
Syria vs Palestine: Prediction
Syria are considered rather clear favorites to win the game. I do have some reservations, but at 1.70, I’m willing to leave them aside, and back them to win.
Syria vs Palestine: Betting Tips
As previously mentioned, a simple Syria win is at 1.70. For more than that, I would risk with “Syria and over 1.5”, at 2.25.