As Israel’s war on Gaza wages on its 100th day, Palestine opened their AFC Asian Cup 2023 campaign against Iran.
Huge cheers greeted the Palestine squad before their national anthem was played as the Iranian fans showed solidarity with their Middle Eastern counterparts, with some holding the Iran flag side-by-side with the Palestine colours.
Fans of Iran and Palestine also paused for a moment’s silence for Palestinian victims of the war in the blockaded enclave. Since the start of the aggression, Israel has killed more than 23,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Nearly 60,300 Palestinians have also been wounded, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.
Goals from Karim Ansarifard, Shoja Khalilzadeh, Mehdi Ghayedi and Sardar Azmoun gave Iran all three points while Tamer Seyam scored a consolation for Palestine
Iran got the game rolling in a vociferous arena, striking a goal in the match’s first minute, leaving the Palestinian defence surprised.
The early goal in the match edged fans in their seat as Iran loomed in ball possession, eventually scoring another goal in the 12th minute of the game.
Continuing to press down, Iran shot in another goal before half time, showcasing their dominance in the tournament.
Finally, before the end of the first half of the game, the Palestinians got their break, striking a goal into the back of Iran’s net.
After the half, Iran reigned in its dominance as substitute Sardar Azmoun taped in a goal from close range.
The United Arab Emirates beat Hong Kong 3-1 in the other Group C match on Sunday.