Australia bounce back from opening loss with easy victory

Goals by MacLaren, Mabil and Giannou earned the Socceroos a comfortable win over Palestine in Asian Cup Group B on Friday.

Australia bounce back from opening loss with easy victory

Check out the full schedule for the AFC Asian Cup Round of 16 fixtures

Palestine vs Australia: as it happened

Cheers for your company this afternoon and see you soon for more AFC Asian Cup 2019 action with AS English soon ; )

Here's how Group B looks after two rounds of action.... Jan 15 final match-day.

90'+2' That's all here in Dubai. A solid performance from the Socceroos seals a 0-3 win over a passionate but poor Palestine side. 

Jan. 15th is the date for the final Group B games: Australia-Syria and Palestine v Jordan. Top 2 go through automatically with a place still at stake for a best third placed side.

90'+1'   3' to be added

Palestine 0-3 Australia 

Apostolos Giannou glances the ball home to seal the win for Australia

Australia make it 3

88' Call for hand ball from the Asutralia players.... no says ref

88'   Icelandic clap from the Palestine fans. Credit to the fans who have made non-stop noise throughout the action despite the adverse scoreline 

Final change for Australia: Robbie Kruse on, getting his 72nd cap. Mabil the player who makes way. 

85'   Shot on target from the tireless Mabil, straight at the Palestine keeper

83'   A final push from Palestine but lacking the finesse to break through the well organised wall of gold shirts. 5' to go...

Time wasting means a card for card for the PSV player who will miss the Syria game now  

81' MacLaren off with Giannou replacing the Hibs player

79'   Into the final ten we go... Are we watching the current holders on track to retain their title? Difficult to draw too many conclusions from action today as Palestine have been poor opponents.   

78'   Far, far too many misplaced passes from Palestine today.  

Palestine change: Wadi off/ Salem on.

75'   Wadi down again and looking to the bench as he limps off with cramp. 


Change for Aus: Rogic off and Luongo on. 

73'   Just over 15' to go.... can Palestine create something that will put them back in contention...

73'   Wadi on the turf apparently suffering with cramp.

Palestine sub: Rashid on-and Albadawithe player who makes way

70' Decent play from Wadi as he breaks and tries a back heel but the pass is mis-placed as Australia break forward.

69'   Palestine poised to make another change in an effort to bag a goal that would put them back in the contest.

68' Danger as Palestine make a rare break deep into the Australia half ... the noise level increases as the men in red press 

64' Great to see rival fans mingling with no tension here in Dubai today

64'   The tempo of the game is certainly lower in this second half. A combination of Australia taking their foot off the gas and tiredness from the men in red after their high pressing first half effort.

62'   Looks like the Perth Glory player will be okay to carry on as Mabil switched wins briefly  

61'   Ikonomidis strikes from long range and falls badly... Worrying for Oz manager Arnold

60'   Possession after an hour of action in Dubai: PLE 34-66 AUS (%) 


Dabbagh on for the carded Cantillana for Palestine

 Tom Rogic carded for unsportsmanlike conduct.

56'   Palestine fans not deterred from what they are watching with chants of "Palestine" ringing out from the packed Rashid Stadium crowd 

53'   Australia almost make it three as Grant sees his cross deflected onto the cross-bar. Irvine now goes close as the ball nestles on the roof of the net 

53' Off the bar ....

53'   Rogic to take? Mabil over the ball too.... It's the Celtic man who strikes but deflected by the wall. 

50'   Palestine under the cosh a little at the start of the half with the men in red yet to make a forray into the opposing half. Dangerous free-kick now for the men in gold.

48'   An early goal for Palestine would certainly make the contest an interesting one.... At this point difficult to see with Brighton stopper Mat Ryan yet to be called into action in the almost 50' of action so far.

47' Australia with the early possession at the start of the half 

46' Australia in their all gold strip to start the action as their fans find their voice with chants of "Aussie, Aussie Auss-ieeee" to the tune of  Ole ole ole .... 

46'   Welcome back for the start of the second half as Palestine face Australia in this Group B AFC Asian cup match... 0-2 at the break....

That's it for the first 45'. No surprises at the Rashid Stadium as Australia lead with a comfortable 0-2 over Palestine in a strong and professional display. 

Australia's players celebrate after scoring a goal during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup group B football match between Palestine and Australia at the Maktoum Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Stadium

Solid performance too from veteran captain Mark Milligan for the Socceroos today. Those early empty seats have now been taken too ! 

42'   Possession stat just ahead of the interval: PLE 38-62 AUS (%)

40' Chance for Mabil who blazes over .... poor from the 23-year-old


38'   Free kick for Palestine....Punted into the Autsralia but headed clear by Rogic. The Palestine side are still full of battle as fans appeal for a free kick on the edge of the area.  

37'   Still no let-up in the incessant boisterous chanting from the Palestinian supporters...

Jonathan Cantillana carded for Palestine

34'   Both Mabil and Ikonomidis have been outstanding on either flank with Chris Arnold's changed side delivering divends at present. 

30'   Irvine heads on goal and just fails to get the ball on target. The thrird Australian goal closer one feels as opposed to a strike for the men in red.


As it stands the result sees Australia sit comfortably in second place with the last game against the in turmoil Syria

29'   "Good boy" states Ausitralia boss Chris Arnold from the touch-line as he appluads Chris Ikonomidis

Three Scottish Premiership players in action for the Austrlian side today, representing the green & white of Hibs (Milligan & MacLaren) and Celtic (Rogic)    

25'   Socceroos now playing with boosted confidence as Palestine have to chace the game

Poor defending on both goals it has to be stated....Irvine rises and heads goalbound.... ball blocked and a third would really be curtains for the men in red.  

22'   Can Palestine come back from this additional set back ? The Palestine fans are getting even louder if anything ....

22'   Palestine 0-2 Australia  

The Midtjylland player sideing the ball into the net from a fine Ikonomidis assist....

Goaal....Mabil makes it 2 for the Socceroos

19'   Can Palestine bounce back? No let-up in the noise from the fans

18' Fine glancing effort from the Hibs player from a deft Rogic delivery. Poor defending from Palestine

MacLaren fires Australia ahead heading home ... 

17'   Clear pattern developing in the game now with Australia bossing possession..

FC Cincinatti's Nazmi Albadawi certainly the danger man for the Palestine side....

15'   Australia dominating in possession stats in the opening quarter of an hour: PLE 25% - AUS 75%

13'   Diagonal balls being well employed by the Socceroos as they win an Ikonomidis taken corner... 

Socceroos XI pre game

  Ikonomidis stretches but unable to connect....close from the Perth Glory player... Palestine looking disciplned at the back

Palestine team ahead of the match: 

Despite the claim of a sell-out, there are still swathes of empty seats at the Rashid Stadium today.  

Long range effort for Palestine as Albadawi nearly connects on a throw-in...nerves at the back from the Aussie rear-guard it would appear. 

Australia dominating early possession with the men in red struggling to thread any decent level of play together so far

All the noise at present coming from the Palestine supporters...

Chance for the Aussies as the ball falls to Maclaren but a "fresh air" strike for the Hibs man with the taget beckoning.... 

Palestine in all red with the Socceroos in their classic all gold

Countdown is underway and off we go ...Palestine (ranked 99 in the FIFA ranking) start the action

Can Palestine pull off a shock in only their second appearance at the Asian Cup or will the 53rd FIFA ranked Australia side be too strong ?

Possibly outnumberd by Aussie fans today but high turnout of supporters from Palestine in Dubai this afternoon 

A win for Palestine the outside bet for bookmakers offering a pay-out of 12/1. Short odds on a Oz win with a return of just 1.22 for every euro placed.

Bas sporting the rather smart Palestino shirt from the Chilean side founded by exiled Palestinians in the 1920s.    
Good to see a full house at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai today. Too many of the games at the Asian Cup have seen poor crowds. 18,000 Aussies and Palestinians present today though to cheer on their sides.  

In the other second Group B game, yesterday Jordan secured their passage to the Round of 16 with a 2-0 win over Syria.    

Perfect weather conditions in Dubai this afternoon for the game with a mild 23C at kick-off. 

  Here's how the Group B table looks ahead of the game. A win is essential for Australia. A draw may be enough with the 3rd best teams also progressing to the Round of 16 with one game still yet to play. 

The Palestine XI:   
The game at the Rashid Stadium is a sell-out !  
Here's the starting XI for the Soceroos 

Good morning, afternoon or evening and welcome to another day of the 2019 Asian Cup. Today's action focuses on Group B as Palestine face current holders Australia with the game kicking off at 1200 CET (1500 in Dubai). 

Palestine v Australia: preview 

Australia may be the AFC Asian Cup defending champions, but coach Graham Arnold claimed that the achievements of 2015 are irrelevant ahead of Friday's must-win Group B fixture against Palestine.

On FIFA ranking and on paper, it should be a straightforward assignment for the Australian side but that was the general vie ahead of the Group B opener against Jordan.

Following the shock opener, the pressure is certainly on Arnold and the Socceroos as Palestine recorded a 0-0 draw in their first game against Syria.


Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Mitch Langerak

Defenders: Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Rhyan Grant, Matthew Jurman, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury 

Midfielders: Mustafa Amini, Jackson Irvine, James Jeggo, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Tom Rogic

Forwards: Apostolos Giannou, Chris Ikononomidis, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout


Goalkeepers: Tawfiq Ali, Amr Kaddura, Rami Hamadeh

Defenders: Daniel Mustafá, Mohammed Saleh, Tamer Salah, Musab Al-Battat, Jaka Ihbeisheh, Abdullah Jaber, Abdelatif Bahdari, Alexis Norambuena

Midfielders: Mohammed Bassim, Shadi Shaban, Jonathan Cantillana, Tamer Seyam, Sameh Maraaba, Pablo Tamburrini, Oday Dabbagh, Nazmi Albadawi, Mohammed Darweesh

Forwards: Yashir Islame, Khaled Salem, Mahmoud Wadi