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Palestine's coach Makram Daboub looks on before the start of the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group C match against Iran. Image Credit: AFP

Doha: Palestine coach Makram Daboub said his players must be “fully focused” against the United Arab Emirates at the Asian Cup on Thursday after defeat to Iran in an emotional opening game.

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Palestine conceded a goal after just 64 seconds on their way to a 4-1 thrashing by the Iranians in Doha, with Daboub admitting that his players were “overexcited”.

The match coincided with the 100th day of the Israel-Hamas war. A brief moment’s silence was held before kick-off and Daboub said it had been difficult to control his players’ emotions in the opening game.

Palestine team stand for the national anthem ahead of their match against Iran. Image Credit: AP

“In the previous match the focus at the start of the match was not what we intended,” he said on Wednesday.

“No coach would want the scenario we had against Iran but the game against UAE is different because we have the same chances and it is important for us to get the three points.”

The Palestinian team have been forced to play matches and train overseas in the lead-up to their third Asian Cup.

They have never won a game at the tournament and face a UAE side who beat Hong Kong 3-1 in their opener.

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UAE got off to breezy start, thrashing Hong Kong 3-1 in the opener. Image Credit: AFP

Key to qualifying

Daboub said taking three points against the UAE was “the key to qualifying” for the knockout stage for the first time in Palestine’s history.

“I think we have the same chance as UAE and Hong Kong,” said the Tunisian coach.

“Six points are still available but the next game is the most important one.”