The Palestinian soccer team won the Asia Challenge Cup on Friday in a match against the Philippines, securing its place in the AFC Asia Cup that will be held next year in Australia.

The match, held in the Maldives, ended 1-0. It is the first victory in an international soccer contest for the Palestinians since the establishment of the Palestine Football Federation in 1928, sport officials said.

"Congratulations to our people, Palestine today is proud of such an historical achievement," said Jibril Al-Rajoub, chairman of the Palestine Football Association, who watched the match among hundreds of fans in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

In Gaza City, thousands watched the match on large screens on the sandy beach, beating drums. Fireworks lit up the sky as player Ashraf Al Fawaghra scored the winning goal for Palestine with a free kick in the second half.


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