Monday 4 March 2013

Blue Ayuyu's outclassed in Palestine thumping

Palestine fired 9 goals past the Northern Mariana Islands in Kathmandu as the non-FIFA side matched their record defeat in AFC Challenge Cup qualification earlier today. 23-year old striker Khaled Salem bagged a hat-trick for the FIFA side with impressive midfielder Abdelhamid Abuhabib and Alaa’ Attieh both scoring a brace. The 9-0 score-line was the same trouncing neighbours Guam handed out the Northern Mariana’s back in April 2007, their previous biggest loss.

Pace...Barakat runs past NMI captain Dunn
The Pacific islanders went close to a shock lead in the 5th minute when captain and record-scorer Joe Miller curled a free-kick narrowly over Toufic Ali’s goal. However 2 minutes later the FIFA side took the lead when Khaled Salem found himself in too much space in the box and finished beyond Johann Noetzel as the Blue Ayuyu’s rued another poor defensive start in this qualification campaign. Adham Abu Rwais nearly made it 2 in the 16th minute but his effort was turned away by Noetzel at full stretch. 5 minutes later William Dunn gave away the Northern Marianas second penalty in as many games and midfielder Abdelhamid Abuhabib made no mistake to double the lead. Smelling blood the Palestinians continued to press and in the 23rd minute they made it 3 when Ittihad Shajaeya striker Alaa' Attieh was on hand to turn home from close range after Noetzel parried a long-range effort. The onslaught continued and in the 27th minute it was 4-0. After Dunn committed a foul on the edge of the box Abuhabib effortlessly curled home a free-kick, his 4th international goal. Haytham Theeb hit the post on the half hour as Palestine continued to toy with the islanders and in the 35th minute yet another penalty was conceded. This time, however, former FC Dallas draft Noetzel produced a fine save to deny Mohamed Barakat from the spot to keep the half-time score 4-0.

Calm before the storm...NMI pre-match
In the 53rd minute Noetzel was again on hand to keep the score town as he palmed Abuhabib’s close range shot round the post. The Blue Ayuyu’s held out until the 67th minute before conceding again, this time Theeb getting in on the act.  9 minutes later it was 6-0 as Salem got the better of Noetzel, nodding home from inside the 6-yard box. The non-FIFA side were shattered and in the final 10 minutes they collapsed conceding 3 more times. Salem completed his hat-trick in style when his smart finish flew beyond the despairing Noetzel before, in the 83rd minute, substitute Eyad Abugharqud bagged his 3rd international strike following a goal-mouth scramble. The rout was completed in the 1st minute of injury time when Attieh ghosted past Nicolas Swaim before coolly rolling the ball home. 

The Blue Ayuyu’s conclude their maiden Challenge Cup campaign on Wednesday when they meet 2nd-placed Bangladesh who will be aiming to score as many as possible in the quest to catch leaders Palestine. Kick-off is at 14:00 (08:15 UK) and updates will be provided via our Twitter service. 

Match information – 

Score: Northern Mariana Islands 0 – 9 Palestine

Goals: Khaled Salem 7’, 76’, 82’ Abdelhamid Abuhabib 21’ (pen.), 27’ Alaa’ Attieh 23’, 90 (+1) Haytham Theeb 67’ Eyad Abugharqud 83’

Northern Mariana Islands XI: Noetzel; Dunn, Knecht, Swaim, Westphal [Zapanta 85’], Jeon; McKagen [Yobech 56’], Barry, Adachi [Tawanpiy 36’], Loken; Miller.

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