Bangabandhu Gold Cup

Palestine storm to semis

Sports Correspondent

18 January, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Palestine storm to semis

Players of Palestine National Football Team celebrate after scoring a goal against Sri Lanka during their Bangabandhu Gold Cup match at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital on Friday. Palestine won 2-0. — BFF Photo

Bangabandhu International Gold Cup Football Tournament 2020 top seed and holders Palestine reached the semifinal of the ongoing six-team tournament in style crushing Sri Lanka by 2-0 goals at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the capital on Friday.

Late goals from captain Mahmoud Abuwarda and forward Khaled Salem helped the West Asian team to rout Sri Lanka by 2-0 goals in their thrilling last group match.

Both Sri Lanka and hosts Bangladesh conceded 0-2 goals defeat against Palestine. To confirm their spot in the semifinals, Bangladesh now have to beat Sri Lanka in their second and final group match on Sunday.  

In the day’s match, Palestine put pressure on the islanders with their attacking football. But Sri Lankan defenders and goalkeeper Herath Arunasiri ruined all of their attempts and saved the post brilliantly.

Arunasiri smartly denied several close-range shots from Palestine midfielders Mohamed Darwish, Dawoud Iraqi and forwards Mosab Abusalem, Reebal Dahamshi throughout the game.

Palestine finally got relief when their captain Mahmoud Abuwarda sent the ball home with an eye-catching header from a cross of midfielder Sameh Maraaba in the stoppage time.

Sri Lanka, who had been maintaining a compact defensive approach from the beginning, came alive after conceding the goal and took a chance to level the margin.

But Palestine forward Khaled Salem doubled the margin with a grounder, off a through pass by midfielder Dawoud Iraqi from a cleaver counter-attack just few seconds before the final whistle.