Palestine beaten but unbowed on Asian Cup exit

Palestine beaten but unbowed on Asian Cup exit
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Published January 20th, 2015 - 17:19 GMT via

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Palestine Team
Palestine Team

Palestine exited the Asian Cup Tuesday with a third successive defeat but coach Ahmed Al Hassan is taking only positives from the experience of playing in Australia.

The minnows qualified for the tournament for the first time by virtue of winning the 2014 Challenge Cup - but the step up from playing the likes of Afghanistan and the Philippines proved too much.

"We knew before the tournament that we would play with teams with high FIFA rankings, much higher than ours and we have gained and accumulated a lot of experience for our team for the future," Al Hassan said.

And his team made a lot of friends along the way. Wild celebrations greeted Jaka Hbaisha netting the side's first goal at the finals and the players were applauded from the park after each match.

Defeats of 4-0 to reigning champions Japan and 5-1 to Jordan pceded the final 2-0 loss to Iraq which ended the theoretical chance the side had of reaching the quarter-finals.

"We knew before the match that we had a very slim chance to reach the second round, so we had no pssure this time," Al Hassan said.

"We have performed a different type of match today and achieved a better result compared to the past two matches against Japan and Jordan. I believe that everyone on my team played a wonderful performance.

"There are huge lessons to be learned in such a great tournament like this. The players' experience having played three times here in Australia is definitely much better than before they came here and this will be reflected in the future.

"This was Palestine's first participation in this tournament and I think that this is the beginning for Palestinian football, this is not the end."

© 2014 dpa GmbH

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