19 March 2011
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West Bank: Palestine’s first international qualification match on home soil ended in heartbreak as they went down 6-5 on penalties in the second leg of their 2012 Olympics first round qualifier to send the Thais through to the next qualification phase.
Palestine went into the historic match at the Faisal Al Huseni Stadium – which was attended by AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam – a goal down from the first leg after Narat Patchya’s 43rd minute strike in Bangkok giving the Thais a slender lead.
But the Thais advantage was cancelled out shortly before half-time, with midfielder Abdulhamid Abuhabib writing his name in Palestinian football folklore by scoring his country’s first international qualification goal in Palestine in the 45th minute.
Palestine were handed a further boost in the 68th minute when Thailand were reduced to ten men with the sending off of Theerathon Bunmathan but the home side couldn’t capitalise on their numerical edge and the game went into extra-time.
Neither side could find the net in the additional half-hour of football sending the tie into a penalty shootout, where Seeket Madputeh emerged the hero for Thailand by netting the decisive spot-kick.
Thailand join ten other Round 1 winners and the 13 highest ranked teams (based on the qualifiers and tournament proper at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing) in the Olympic Football Tournament London 2012 Asian Qualifiers Round 2 draw, which takes place at AFC House on March 30.
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