Syria and Palestine will face each other in the second Group B match at the AFC Asian Cup 2019 on Sunday with both teams looking to get their campaign off to a good start.
Syria comes on the back of a heartbreaking 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign where they narrowly missed out on their first-ever World Cup appearance in the playoffs to Australia, who they will renew rivalry with in Group B at the United Arab Emirates.
Palestine, meanwhile, make their second successive appearance in the continental cup and the Lions of Canaan will be hoping to qualify past the group stages this time around.
Here, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the five key facts ahead of the kick off between the two sides.
1) SYRIA’S GROUP STAGE HOODOO
Syria have been a regular at the Asian Cup, but their record in the continental championship is not something their fans can be proud of.
They will be making their sixth appearance at an Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates when they take the field against the Palestinians, but never have they gotten out of the group stages in the competition in five previous attempts.
They won two matches in the group stages at the 1980 Asian Cup in Kuwait as well as the 1988 edition in Qatar, but even that wasn’t enough for the Eagles to qualify.
Can they break the jinx this time around?
2) FIRST MEETING BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES
The two sides have never met in the Asian Cup before, but things are poised when you take into account their past three meetings at the international level.
Their recent meetings were two friendly held in Jordan in November 2012 where the two teams played out a draw in the first game while Palestine got the better of Syria 2-1 in the second exhibition match.
Syria, meanwhile, recorded a 3-0 win over Palestine going all the way back to February 2006.
3) SYRIA DO NOT LIKE A DRAW!
An interesting fact about Syria at the Asian Cup is that they haven’t recorded a draw in the competition in a long time despite making five appearances in it.
In the last 13 games in the competition, Syria have never settled for a draw in the Asian Cup.
However, during that period, they have won five and lost eight matches!
4) SECOND TIME LUCKY FOR PALESTINE?
Palestine, as mentioned earlier, will make their second appearance in the continental showpiece this year.
The previous edition of the competition, hosted by Australia in 2015, was their debut in the competition and it wasn’t one that they will remember fondly of.
Drawn in Group D with Japan, Iraq and Jordan, the Palestinians lost all three of their group matches scoring just one goal while conceding 11.
5) AN UNWANTED RECORD AWAITS PALESTINE!
That disappointing 2015 campaign means that Palestine are starting at an unwanted record as they kick off their 2019 campaign at the Sharjah Stadium on Sunday.
If they lose to Syria in their opening match, they will join Bangladesh as the only two teams to lose their first four games at the Asian Cup.
Definitely, that is something they will want to avoid!
(Facts via Opta)