Palestine and Lebanon draw 0-0 in 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier held in UAE

The match had been scheduled to be played in Beirut but Gaza war forced officials to switch the match to Sharjah

By Reuters

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Young Palestine fans display a scarf and a flag at the stadium in Sharjah. — Reuters
Young Palestine fans display a scarf and a flag at the stadium in Sharjah. — Reuters

Published: Thu 16 Nov 2023, 9:04 PM

Palestine drew 0-0 with Lebanon on Thursday in a World Cup qualifier played in the UAE due to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The match had been scheduled to be played in Beirut but Gaza war forced officials to switch the match to Sharjah.

The whole Palestinian team wore traditional keffiyeh, chequered black and white scarves, before the national anthems and there was a minute's silence for those killed in the conflict before kickoff.

Fans wearing the colors of the Palestinian flag pose for a picture during the match. _ AFP
Fans wearing the colors of the Palestinian flag pose for a picture during the match. _ AFP
Lebanon's Soony Saad in action with Palestine's Camilo Saldana. — Reuters
Lebanon's Soony Saad in action with Palestine's Camilo Saldana. — Reuters
Lebanon's Soony Saad vies for the ball with Palestine's MAhmoud Abuwarda. —  Reuters
Lebanon's Soony Saad vies for the ball with Palestine's MAhmoud Abuwarda. — Reuters

Despite starting official training only four days ago, the Palestinians started the game well.

Yet Lebanon captain Hassan Maatouk had the first chance after 12 minutes, with his long-range shot going wide, before Atta Gaber responded for the Palestinians with a header on the half-hour mark that went over.

Karim Darwish missed a good chance for Lebanon three minutes into the second half and Palestine, ranked 94th by Fifa, had a Tamer Seyam shot saved by Lebanon goalkeeper Moustafa Matar.

Lebanon's Ali Al Haj shot into the side netting after 87 minutes before Matar saved Dabbagh's close-range shot with his out-stretched leg in the final minute.

This week's matches marked the start of the second phase of qualifiers for the expanded 48-team 2026 World Cup, when Asia will have eight guaranteed berths plus a possible ninth available through an intercontinental playoff.

The top two finishers in each of the nine groups advance to the third phase.

The Palestinians usually play home games at Al-Ram's Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium on the West Bank but they will meet Australia next in Kuwait on November 21.

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