Palestine advance with historic 1st Asian Cup win

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Palestine made history by reaching the knockout stages of the Asian Cup for the first time on Tuesday with victory over Hong Kong in their final group match.

Palestine wrapped up their Group C campaign in style with a 3-0 win after Oday Dabbagh grabbed a double, securing their spot in the round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams.

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– Tan: Fortune favours the brave as Palestine make history

Iran won the group after beating the United Arab Emirates 2-1 to finish with nine points.

Palestine were on course to finish second when Iran led UAE 2-0. But an injury-time goal from UAE’s Yahya Al-Ghassani pushed Palestine back to third on goal difference after both teams finished with four points.

Oday Dabbagh celebrates during Palestine’s historic win over Hong Kong.

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Palestine opened the scoring when Dabbagh powered home a header under pressure in the 12th minute while Zeid Qunbar doubled the lead with a header across goal.

Dabbagh then got his second when he was in the right place at the right time to tap in a rebound when Tamer Seyam saw his curling strike come back off the crossbar.

Hong Kong had the opportunity to score a consolation goal when they were awarded a penalty after a VAR check but Everton Camargo‘s spot kick came off the bar.

Syria also reached the knockout stages of the competition for the first time on Tuesday with a 1-0 win over India after Omar Khribin — the 2017 Asian Footballer of the Year — netted in the 76th minute to give the Middle Eastern side their first goal of the tournament.

Syria finished with four points and the AFC later clarified that they are also through to the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams across all groups “regardless of final results from other groups.”

It marks the first time Syria have advanced to the knockouts since their Asian Cup debut in 1980.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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