AFC Asian Cup 2019: 5 key facts ahead of Palestine vs Australia

Asian Cup 2019 Palestine Australia

Wounded defending champions Australia look for their first points of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 when they face Palestine in their second Group B match on Friday.

The Socceroos suffered an upset at the hands of Jordan as an Anas Bani Yaseen goal in the first half condemned the defending champions to a 1-0 defeat at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on January 6.

Meanwhile, Palestine were held to a goalless draw by Syria in their opening game.

So, we take a look at the five key facts ahead of the game.

1) Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Australian tour of 1939

Palestine and Australia have never met in international football in recent times, but the two sides met on five occasions in 1939 when Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv went on a tour Down Under that year.

Maccabi played 19 matches in Australia during their tour and also appeared in five matches where they faced the Australian national team as the ‘Palestine’ team.

Australia won three of those five encounters while Palestine recorded a 2-1 victory in the third match of the series played in Sydney.

2) Palestine buoyed by their first-ever points in Asian Cup

Palestine managed to hold Syria to a goalless draw in their opening match of Asian Cup 2019.

The result meant that the Lions of Canaan collected their first-ever point of the continental championship.

They had lost all three of their group matches in their previous appearance in the tournament in 2015.

3) Reigning champions staring at embarrassment?

Australia came into the tournament as the defending champions but faced a huge setback when they went down to Jordan in their opening match.

Graham Arnold’s men will be looking to avoid further embarrassment when they face Palestine.

No reigning champions have ever lost their first two games at an Asian Cup tournament.

4) Palestine’s lack of goals! 

The Palestinians have only scored one goal in their four Asian Cup matches so far.

That goal came in the 2015 edition in Australia when they faced Jordan in the group stages. The goal scored by Jaka Ihbeisheh in the 84th minute was mere consolation as Jordan ran out 5-1 winners.

5) But Australia are always on the goals! 

This will be the Socceroos’ fourth appearance in an Asian Cup, and they have an enviable scoring record in the competition.

Statistics show that Australia have never failed to score in successive Asian Cup matches.

After blanking against Jordan in their opening match, they will surely be on the goals against Palestine! Or will they?