01/12/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/12/2019 03:55
Dubai: Nathmi Albadawi remains hopeful of helping Palestine to a first ever appearance in the AFC Asian Cup knockout stage, after a 3-0 loss to Australia dealt a significant blow to their campaign on Friday.
Swept aside by the holders at Rashid Stadium, the Palestinians dropped to the bottom of Group B and now must look towards Tuesday's clash against already-qualified Jordan in the knowledge that only a win will suffice.
But despite the enormity of the task before them, Albadawi declared his side's campaign well and truly alive.
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'We're in with a chance,' said the American-born forward. 'Today is about recovering and then it's onwards towards Jordan. They've had a great start, they have six points and two wins over Australia and Syria, and that's not what a lot of people expected.
'Now we have to come out flying against Jordan and we need a win, nothing else is acceptable.
'We need a win and I think we'll advance either as second or third. Hopefully we can pull off a win and see what happens after that.'
Hopes of a repeat of the stoic defensive effort which earned Palestine their first ever AFC Asian Cup point five days earlier were extinguished within 20 minutes against the Australians.
Early goals to Jamie Maclaren and Awer Mabil gave Graham Arnold's men what proved to be an insurmountable lead, and Albadawi conceded his side had been beaten by a superior outfit on the day.
'Yeah, credit to them I think they played very well,' said the 27-year-old.
'I think the way their central midfielders went out wide to receive the ball was very difficult for us to handle and they created overloads pretty well all over the field and that made it tough on us.
'I think they came out with a lot of energy because they knew they had a must win game, and I think they deserve it to be honest. Unfortunately for us they were the better team.'
While Palestine were beaten on the pitch, their fans contributed to a wonderful atmosphere off it, making up the vast majority of the enthusiastic 11,915-strong crowd which came close to filling the Rashid Stadium.
Albadawi paid tribute to his side's passionate support, which is expected to be out in force once again at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.
'It's amazing. We have a very special country, and a very special fan base,' he said.
'Even today, when we were down 2-0, they were still jumping up and down singing for Palestine and it means the world to us to represent them and we want to try and make them proud.'
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