THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Friendly Match: India 2-4 Palestine

Indian national team

The Indian national team has lost an International FIFA Friendly Match against Palestine at Kochi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday. Wim Koevermans’ team has been defeated 2-4 by the West Asians [+ watch the video].

India started off well and the team led by skipper Sunil Chhetri put early pressure on the visitors. The Indian dominance paid off in the 17th minute when Clifford Miranda put the host in the lead. Alwyn George’s shot was punched away by the Palestine keeper Mohammed Shbair just to see Clifford firing it to the back of the net.

But Palestine settled to the conditions at Kochi and they had their moments in the game. Ashraf Nu’man volleyed home a cross from the right flank to level the score.

The Indian team continued to play their game and they were rewarded in the 39th minute. Syed Rahim Nabi headed home a corner kick by Mehtab Hossain to give India a 2-1 lead at half-time.

The game had  a turn-around in the second half. Two early goals by Hussam Abu Saleh and Ashraf Nu’man gave the Palestine team a 3-2 lead in the 51st minute.

Ashraf Nu’man scored again in the 66th minute to complete his hat-trick for a much stronger Palestine team in the second half.

The visitors took full control of the match in the second half and the Indian team couldn’t find a solution to come back and Palestine won the first international match between these two countries.

Re-live the FULL MATCH at – CLICK HERE to get all the action minute by minute!


International FIFA Friendly Match
at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi



1-0 Clifford Miranda (17′) [+ VIDEO]
1-1 Ashraf Nu’man (30′)
2-1 Syed Rahim Nabi (39′) [+ VIDEO]
2-2 Hussam Abu Saleh (47′)
2-3 Ashraf Nu’man (51′, pen)
2-4 Ashraf Nu’man (66′)

Re-live the FULL MATCH at – CLICK HERE to get all the action minute by minute!



33-Sandip Nandy; 2-Denzil Franco, 19-Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh, 3-Raju Eknath Gaikwad, 22-Syed Rahim Nabi; 10-Francis Fernandes (77′ 17-Joaquim Abranches), 12-Mehtab Hossain, 6-Lenny Rodrigues (64′ 26-Izumi Arata), 15-Clifford Miranda (85′ 28-C.K. Vineeth); 9-Alwyn George (70′ 23-Jewel Raja Sheikh); 11-Sunil Chhetri [C] (76′ 30-Manandeep Singh)

Unused Subs
Subrata Pal, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury; Nirmal Chettri, Souvik Ghosh, Gurjinder Kumar Singh; Lalkamal Bhowmick; Sushil Kumar Singh

16-Mohammed Shbair; ?-Raed Fares, 3-Khaled Mahdi, 2-Abdellatif Albahdari [C] (60′ 15-Nadim Bagadari), 13-Hussam Abu Saleh; 6-Mousa Abu Jazr (81′ 12-Ahmed Salame), 10-Abdelhamid Abuhabib (78′ 17-Abdalrahim Kabiya), 14-Ma’aly Kaware’ (46′ 24-Mahmood Shaikhqasem), ?-Khader Yousef; 9-Eyad Abugharqoud (89′ 11-Khaled Salem), 7-Ashraf Nu’man

Unused Subs
Tawfiq Ali; Imad Zatara



Armughan Rowan (India)

Assistant Referees
Shaji Kurian (India), Md. Kamil (Delhi)

Fourth Official
M.B. Santosh Kumar (India)

Match Commissioner
J. Ravishankar (India)



Yellow Cards
51′ Syed Rahim Nabi (India)

Yellow-Red Cards

Red Cards



Bands, bugles, banners. Flags, festoons and Football! All in picturesque Kochi — all for the ‘Beautiful Game.’ The noise in the Stadium was deafening and there was enough reason for it. After all, International Football returned to ‘God’s own country’ after a long gap.

Playing their first International match at Home after the Nehru Cup, India went down 2-4 to Palestine in an International Friendly at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Clifford Miranda and Syed Rahim Nabi scored for India in the 17th and the 39th minute respectively while for Palestine, Ashraf Alfawaghra scored a hat-trick while Husam Abusalah scored the other.

It was a tale of two halves for India, very much contrasting in nature. If India were by far the better side in the first half and went into the interval enjoying a 2-1 lead; the brace scored by Palestine within three minutes after resumption never allowed India to come back into the match.

In the first half, India started on a positive note and were the better team. Under the lights at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and cheered on by almost 40000 spectators, Blue outshone the dazzling red on the field.

The calm in defence, the composure in the midfield and the interchanging between the front two, Alwyn George and Captain Sunil Chhetri upfront, rattled the strong Palestine side, which had fielded nine players who did duty for them in the West Asia Cup in December 2012.

Playing in only his second International match, Alwyn looked matured beyond his age. The U-22 India player, presently playing for AIFF’s Developmental Team Pailan Arrows always stayed away from his markers forcing the rival midfield to look a bit yawning. He stayed the ‘free-man’ and Team India built around him.

There were short-passes as much there was switching as much there was interchanging. The team adjusted according to the situation – slowing the procedure when needed and pressing the accelerator the very next moment. Palestine were never allowed to settle down.

India surged into the lead in the 17th minute. Alwyn snaked in between a couple of rival defenders but his left-footer was palmed away by goalkeeper Tawfiq Abuhammad only for Clifford Miranda to blast it in. Kochi went berserk. The Mexican wave followed. India by then, were roaming all over on the lush green.

However, the lead lasted 13 minutes when much against the run of play Ashraf Alfawaghra volleyed in an Abdulhamid Abuhabib centre. Though disappointed, Kochi appreciated the effort.

Nabi ensured the Mexican wave made a comeback, that too within nine minutes, in the 39th minute to be precise when he leaped over all to head in Mehtab Hossain’s corner. India went into the interval with a 2-1 lead.

But it was a different story in the second half. Immediately after resumption, Palestine equalised to make it 2-2. Hasam Abusalah heading in a corner in the 46th minute which was  the first attack of the second half. The very next minute, Palestine were 3-2 up, Ashraf converting from the spot.

It wasn’t the start which was planned and India wanted and tried to regroup. Palestine were in no hurry and stayed content in further slowing it down. Understandably, the crowd of legs in their half, increased.

Arata Izumi made his debut for India in the 63rd minute coming on for Lenny Rodrigues.

But two minutes later, Palestine made it 4-2; Ashraf completing his hat-trick as he went past his marker and slotted it home.

India’s first chance in the second half came in the 73rd minute but a Jewel Raja volley from the top of the box narrowly missed the mark.

National Coach Wim Koevermans did bring in more substitutions in the second half including local lad CK Vineet but Palestine held onto the lead.

Earlier, the AIFF Player of the Year Award was handed over to Syed Rahim Nabi by Wim Koevermans prior to the kick-off. Nabi, who was voted as the best Indian Player for 2012 by all Coaches of I-League teams was handed over a silver plaque and a Cheque of Rs. 2 lakh.

Re-live the FULL MATCH at – CLICK HERE to get all the action minute by minute!