LONDON: Noureddine Ould Ali claimed that Palestine are ready to end Australia’s tournament.
The Socceroos were shocked by Jordan in their first match on Sunday and know they need to win in Dubai on Friday. Graham Arnold’s men arrived in UAE lacking several key men due to either retirement or injury, but it would be a huge shock if they were to exit at this early stage.
The defending champions are still the team to beat in Group B and Palestine are only too aware of the task they face.
But Ali revealed he and his team have watched the Australia-Jordan match and have backed themselves to match their Arab rivals and kick the Aussies out of the tournament.
“You need to know that we are in 2019, and every team is able to give a good performance,” Ali said.
“In regard to Jordan against Australia we studied the game between them and (Australia’s) strengths, but we also noticed points of weakness and we are also going to exploit such weaknesses.”
Palestine drew their first match 0-0 against the much-fancied Syrians — their first ever point in the competition — and Ali is hoping his side can take that form into the Australia match.
“In the last game we were very defensive because the conditions of the match did not allow us to change our style,” said the Algerian boss.
“But we were very pleased with our performance and the point we got in the first game, and that was the most important thing.”
Australia’s loss to Jordan was one of the major talking points of the competition’s opening week and Arnold knows his side cannot afford another slip-up against Palestine.
“(when we won) four years ago is a long time, and it’s a completely different team to what we had four years ago,” the Australia coach, who also led the Australians at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, said.
“Four years ago it was played in Australia on home soil, this time its here in the UAE, with a totally different team.
“It’s a great memory for Australian football, of course, but now it’s all about the moment. We handed the trophy back the day before the tournament started before the UAE vs Bahrain match, and the trophy is there to be won again.”
Arnold has told his players a repeat performance of their Jordan reverse will not be acceptable.
“We expect a great reaction from the players,” he said.
“The boys are going into this match with a lot of confidence, a lot of belief and expectation to win.
“Something that Australians also have is a great attitude to fight. Palestine will be aggressive and its important that we win the battle,” he said.
“You don’t want to look back, but against Jordan we controlled 76 percent of possession, we had some good chances and on another day we would have scored three or four goals.”