AL RAM, Palestine - A capacity crowd of 12,500 people turned out for the historic match between the UAE and Palestine on Tuesday night, played ay Al Ram in the West Bank.
The scene at the Faisal Al Hussaini International Stadium near Jerusalem was an Asian zone Group A qualifier match.
Despite a traffic jam which delayed thousands as they tried to come through an Israeli checkpoint, and a sandstorm, the match went off well. The result however was a 0-0 draw with neither side being able to kick a goal.
It was the first game hosted by Palestine in four years and came about after a series of diplomatic breakthroughs engineered by the Palestinian Football Association and involving FIFA.
The UAE team travelled to the West Bank via Jordan and the Allenby bridge border checkpoint. The team took to the field wearing black armbands in honour of the 45 Emirati soldiers killed in Yemen on Friday.
Players from Gaza despite delays by Israeli authorities eventually were allowed in to join their Palestinian compatriots and take the field.
The atmosphere was one of jubilation with thousands of supporters of the national team decked in their team's red colour and waving flags beneath a huge banner which bore images of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub and the outgoing head of FIFA Sepp Blatter. There were also banners depicting leaders of the UAE, and of Yasser Arafat.
"It's an incredible emotion to see our boys play on the field for such an important competition. It makes us proud to be Palestinian," 36-year-old Bahar Chanayem from Tulkarem told a correspondent for the UAE newspaper, The National.
It was a formidable game for Palestine, as the UAE was the winner of the Gulf Cup in 2013 when they beat Bahrain, and in January this year came third in the Asian Cup in Australia.
The 0-0 draw suited both teams in their qualifying lead-up to the 2018 World Cup to be staged in Russia.
"The important thing of today is the game itself," said Azzam Al Ayyad, a jubilant fan, shortly after the match. "To show that Palestinian football exists and is alive."
The UAE remain in the lead of the Group A ladder with seven points, one point ahead of Saudi Arabia in second place. The Saudis match against Malaysia was called off at the 88 minute mark when members of the crowd, almost all from Malaysia, hurled flares on to the field sending players and officials running for cover. The match was being played at Shah Alam Stadium in Shah Alam, Selangor, in Malaysia. SaudiArabia led 2-1 when the game was abandoned.