This Incredible Goal Just Made History for Palestine

This Incredible Goal Just Made History for Palestine


History was made Friday in the Maldives when Palestine defeated the Philippines in the final of the AFC Challenge Cup.

With the 1-0 victory, Palestine earned a place in next year's Asian Cup, the first major international tournament in the team's 16-year history.

Palestine controlled the run of play early but failed to capitalize as the teams entered halftime scoreless. The deadlock was finally broken when a clumsy foul outside the box gave Palestine a dangerous set-piece opportunity in the 58th minute.

That's when Ashraf Nu'man Alfawaghra struck a sublime free kick that curled into the top-left corner.

Alfawaghra's sixth goal of the tournament — watch it with English commentary here — prompted celebrations in Palestine, where people gathered in the streets to watch.


"All the world now sees Palestine," said Ramzi Saleh, the Palestinian goalkeeper who didn't concede a goal in the tournament. "I am very happy."

Palestine was first recognized by FIFA in 1998 — one of Sepp Blatter's first moves as president of soccer's international governing body — but did not play its first official home game until 2008. The AFC Challenge Cup, a second-tier competition for nations categorized as "emerging countries," represents its first trophy.

The Redeemers enter into Group D at next year's Asian Cup, alongside Japan, Jordan and Iraq. The tournament runs Jan. 9-31 in Australia.


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Bryan Graham

Bryan is a senior staff writer at Mic focusing on sports and culture.

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