Palestine draw down to character of the side, claims super stopper Rami Hamada

Palestine put on a backs-against-the-wall display against Syria on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019
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Palestine draw down to character of the side, claims super stopper Rami Hamada

  • Palestine secured their first ever point at the Asian Cup against Syria.
  • Goalkeeper Hamada praises side grit and determination.

LONDON: Character is what secured Palestine their first ever point in the Asian Cup with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Syria on Sunday.
That is according to the side goalkeeper Rami Hamada who was key in repelling wave after wave of Syrian attacks. Hamada made some brilliant last-ditch saves as Palestine were reduced to 10 men following the 68th-minute dismissal of defender Mohammed Saleh.
And having made history by picking up the point — this is Palestine’s second appearance at the Asian Cup — the super stopper praised the side’s determination.
“It is an important point, not just the fact it’s against a strong Syria team, but also because it’s Palestine’s first ever AFC Asian Cup point,” the 24-year-old said.
“It was a difficult match for us, so I really would like to thank my teammates for all their efforts. Even when we had a player sent off, every one of us fought for two.
“This is what sets us apart from our opponents; we always show strong character on the pitch.
“The players were alert for the entire 90 minutes and so was I. We looked after one another and were determined to achieve our objective.
“We fought for the name of Palestine and for the flag on our chests and that’s our biggest strength.”
Palestine face reigning champions Australia in their second Group B match in Dubai on Friday.


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.