Maldives will face a tough task in beating Palestine at home, without Ali Ashfaq and Imran Mohamed, Darren Stewart will be relying on Assadulla Abdulla.
The average age of the 29 men squad formed for the match against Palestine is 26.65 years while Riham Abdul Gani of Eagles is the youngest and Mohamed Rasheed of New Radiant the eldest with 20 and 32 years respectively.
Meanwhile, the average age of the Palestine Team against Maldives is 25.77 years while the 17 years old Oday who plays as a Winger for Hilal Al-Quds will be the youngest and Abdelatif Bahdari who is 33 years old will be the oldest in the squad of Palestine.
Heads to Head
Maldives has played against Palestine twice before where the last meeting was s goalless draw, and the first meeting ended in favor for Palestine with a score margin of two goals to nil. Maldives has neither recorded a win against Palestine nor scored a goal yet.
AFC Challenge Cup 2012, Nepal
In AFC Challenge Cup 2012, Maldives was placed in the same group with Palestine. Maldives was eliminated from the group stage while Palestine advanced to the semi-finals.
On 12 March 2012, Maldives played against Palestine in the AFC Challenge Cup 2012, held at Nepal. The match was won by Palestine by two goals to Nil. Goals were scored by Houssam Wadi and Ashraf Nu’man in the second half.
AFC Challenge Cup 2014, Maldives
The second meeting between Maldives and Palestine was in AFC Challenge Cup 2014. Maldives was again placed in the same group with Palestine where the meeting was ended goalless. Palestine later won the tournament and was qualified for the Asian Cup while Maldives ended the tournament as the bronze medalists.
In preparations for the match against Maldives next week, Palestine played a friendly match against Yemen. Palestine won the match by 1-0.
On 6th October 2016, Palestine played against Tajikistan where the game finished 3-3 and on 10th of November 2016, Palestine again drew Lebanon in a friendly with a score of one goal each.
Maldives did not play any friendly games for preparations for the Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers.
Maldives last friendly was against Bangladesh in which Maldives comfortably won by five goals to nil. Assadulla Abdulla scored a hat-trick while Ismail Easa and Hamza Mohamed also made their names on the score sheet.
Maldives last two competitive games were against Laos in which Maldives won by an aggregate of five goals to one. Maldives home match was won by four goals to nil and the away match ended 1-1. Ali Ashfaq who is not in the squad to face Palestine scored twice against Laos in Male’.
Darren Stewart, a former Australian footballer is the Head Coach of Maldives.
Palestine team will be led by Head Coach Abdel Nasser Barakat; a Palestinian football manager, who played for Al-Bireh until he retired. He was the head coach on an interim basis for the Palestine national football team for a single match in 2011. He took over the Palestine national football team in May 2015 after guiding their Olympic side for two years.
Maldives strike force will be led by Assadulla Abdullah who is in a very good form. He has scored in all four games he played so far this season for the club including the goal against Dhaka Abahani of Bangladesh in the AFC Cup. He has scored five goals in four matches in this season.
Other matches of the group
The other tie in this group will be between Oman and Bhutan. The winners and runners-up from each group – a total of 12 teams – will qualify for the final competition of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
They will be joined by the other 12 teams, which include defending champions Australia, China PR, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts United Arab Emirates – who have already qualified to the final competition through the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2.