Sports

Palestine in no mood to relax against Maldives

Maldives National-team

West Bank: Coach Abdel Nasser Barakat insists Palestine have no intention of taking their “foot off the gas” in Tuesday’s meeting with the Maldives despite qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup already being secured.

The penultimate outing in Group D will allow Palestine to celebrate their second consecutive AFC Asian Cup Finals appearance with their fans at Arab American University Stadium after October’s 10-0 home win over Bhutan made it four wins from four games for Barakat’s charges.

The 2014 AFC Challenge Cup winners top the table with a three-point lead over second-placed Oman, who have also already confirmed qualification with two games to spare ahead of their trip to Bhutan.

“We have secured our place in the Finals, but there is no place to take our foot off the gas. We want to continue our campaign in the qualifiers with the same spirit that we started with,” said Palestine coach Barakat.

“We are preparing the national team very well and therefore we started preparing for the match against Maldives directly after the end of the match against Bhutan.”

Palestine lost all three of their group stage games on their AFC Asian Cup debut in Australia at the start of 2015, but having eased through the qualifiers to date and – after conceding just one goal – Barakat’s side will look to continue their current run of form to boost their chances in the UAE in 2019.

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