(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Palestine captain Mahmoud Abuwarda believes tournament debutants Palestine delivered a focused and near perfect performance during Tuesday's 5-1 thumping of Thailand, a win which saw them qualify for the AFC U23 Championship quarter-finals against Qatar.
First half goals from Mohanad Fannoun, Oday Dabbagh, Mahmoud Yousef and Mohamed Darwish laid the foundations for the impressive victory, as Palestine edged DPR Korea for second spot in Group B thanks to a superior goal difference.
Shehab Qumbor duly added a fifth for his side late on to confirm a mouth-watering last eight meeting with Qatar on Friday.
'The match was excellent in every aspect, whether it was technical, tactical, or physical, Abuwarda said.
'We were focused from the start to the finish. We listened to the coach's instructions on the field which definitely helped us win the game and play to the best of our abilities.
Palestine entered the game knowing that only a substantial win over Thailand, coupled with defeat for DPR Korea in their game against Japan, would be enough to secure a ticket through to the knockout phase.
With their continued participation in the competition on the line, Palestine were, according to Abuwarda, eager to pile on the goals in the opening half in a bid to ease the pressure on themselves and ratchet up the tension for their Korean counterparts. Something they achieved to great effect.
'We knew that we had to win by a decent amount of goals to be able to qualify for the next round, he said.
'Although we also knew it depended on the score in the Japan versus DPR Korea match.
'However, we concentrated on finishing the match by scoring goals in the first half, so as not to have to play the second half with a lot of pressure on ourselves.
Qatar v Palestine: Changzhou Olympic Sports Center, January 19
Japan v Uzbekistan: Jiangyin Sports Center, January 19
Iraq v Vietnam: Changshu Sports Center, January 20
Korea Republic v Malaysia: Kunshan Sports Center, January 20
How they qualified
Qatar: Finished top of Group A with three wins from their three games.
Palestine: Tournament debutants who were second in Group B.
Japan: Were top of Group B with a perfect record thanks to their three victories.
Uzbekistan: Group A's second-placed team who beat China 1-0 in the group stage.
Iraq: Group C winners with two wins and a draw to their name.
Vietnam: Came second in Group D thanks to a win and a draw.
Korea Republic: Topped Group D with seven points.
Malaysia: The competition's other debutants. Finished second in Group C.
Group Stage Top Scorer: Almoez Ali (Qatar) and Lee Keun-ho (Korea Republic): 3 goals
Most Goals Scored in the Group Stage: 6 (Palestine)
Fewest Goals Conceded in the Group Stage: 1 (Qatar, Uzbekistan, Japan, Iraq)
Largest Group Stage Margin of Victory: Thailand 1-5 Palestine (Group B)
100 percent Group Stage Records: 2 (Qatar, Japan)