After the 2-0 defeat to Qatar on Matchday 1, The Cedars were under a little bit of pressure to get a result against big favourites Saudi Arabia in order to get themselves in a favourable position to qualify for the second round for the first time in their history. However, unfortunately, despite putting in a decent performance and giving a good account of themselves, the Cedars ultimately fell short as Saudi Arabia ran out 2-0 winners on Saturday at the beautiful, newly-renovated, Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. The all-Arab affair saw a decent crowd attend the game and the atmosphere was great, even if the official attendance of 13000 seems like a stretch with regards to what we saw inside the stadium. But, in the end, Lebanon were unable to get a result against the three-times Asian champions and will now need a win in their last game and other results to go their way if they are to make it to the last 16.
On Saturday, Lebanon will play their second game in this year’s Asian Cup in Dubai’s newly renovated Al Maktoum Stadium, facing group favourites Saudi Arabia. The Cedars enter this match as clear underdogs and with increased pressure following the defeat to Qatar, but there is belief in the camp that an upset can be caused.
Lebanon started their Asian Cup 2019 campaign on Wednesday night in the beautiful Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain and unfortunately, despite the optimism going into the campaign, they were beaten 2-0 by the young exciting team of Qatar. The game was tight for about an hour, with Lebanon’s excellent defensive organization proving hard to break down for the Qataris, but in the end, their quality shone through, as Lebanon were left ruing their bad luck. Indeed, Chinese referee Ma Ning was in the spotlight, disallowing a perfectly valid Lebanese goal in the first half, and then wrongly handing the Qataris a free-kick from which they scored in the second.
Lebanon head coach Miodrag Radulovic has now announced his final 23-man squad for the Asian Cup, and there weren’t many surprises. However, Nejmeh goalkeeper Abbas Hassan, Ansar defender Nassar Nassar and Bromley striker Omar Bugiel are all out because of injury. They are joined by Tadamon Sour goalkeeper Hadi Mortada and Ahed midfielder Hussein Monzer as the group of players left out, with the exclusion of the latter two being expected given their call-up to the preliminary squad was their first with the senior National Team. So let’s get to know the 23 players who will be in the UAE for the Asian Cup.
The Lebanese National Team has now returned from their two-week long camp in Bahrain, the last big stage of their preparations for the 2019 Asian Cup. They will be training in Beirut for the next week before flying out to the UAE on Saturday morning.
It is not the best time to be Lebanese. The country is suffering from yet another political stalemate and finds itself in the midst of a bad economic situation just as Israel is becoming noisier again. The people are fed up and angry. But there might be one thing they can look forward to.
In the next few days, National Team head coach Miodrag Radulovic will announce the squad of players set to go to Bahrain for a preparation camp that will begin on the 16th of December and go until the 28th. Continue reading “Who will make the squad?”
The Lebanese squad has now returned from Australia, with the players going back to their respective clubs in Lebanon, Sweden, England, Croatia and Japan and resuming their club duties with a month to go until the biggest and most exciting event in Lebanese football’s history. Lebanon played two friendlies against Uzbekistan and Australia in which they drew 0-0 and lost 3-0 respectively and spent a week training in great facilities and connecting with the massive and very supportive Australian Lebanese community. This was a very successful trip as the players and coaching staff learned numerous lessons in the preparation for the Asian Cup.
The Lebanese National team finished the last international break with a 0-0 draw against Uzbekistan and a 3-0 defeat against Australia in Tim Cahill’s last game for the Socceroos. This was the hardest test this team has faced on their road to the 2019 Asian Cup, but despite the negative results, the players handled themselves well and can great take confidence from their two performances
On Sunday, the Lebanese national team travelled to Australia for what is the final international break before the Asian Cup. The squad are staying in Gold Coast ahead of two friendlies against Uzbekistan in Brisbane on Thursday and against Australia in Sydney next Tuesday. These games are very important as they will see the Lebanese national team pitted against two of Asia’s finest, and will give us a good idea of where we are ahead of the tournament in January. In fact, the game against Australia, who are the defending champions going into the Asian Cup, will be a massive occasion as it will also be Socceroos legend Tim Cahill’s final game in the famous green and gold and will take place in the wonderful ANZ Stadium in Sydney. In addition there is a very large Lebanese community in Australia who will surely turn up in their numbers to support the Cedars. These two games will provide the players with a great challenge and many lessons ahead of the Asian Cup.