Lebanon kick started their Third Round of World Cup Qualifying campaign with an important goalless draw against the UAE in Dubai on Thursday. Having gone into this game as big underdogs and considering they were subjected to significant pressure by the hosts at times during this game, the Cedars walk away the happier of the two sides as they get their first point on the board. This was not only the first game of the Third Round of WCQ but it was also the first game for Lebanon under the tutelage of Czech head coach Ivan Hasek, and lots of eyes were on the Cedars to see how they fared at the highest level of continental football and under new management. After all, Lebanon scraped through the Second Round thanks in no small part to the results of other teams as well as the surprising withdrawal of North Korea and they definitely have a point to prove regarding whether they even deserve to be playing at such an advanced stage. At the end of an intense 90 minutes and hard-earned draw, we learned several key things about this “new” Lebanon side.Continue reading “What we learnt from the UAE match”
For the past few months, local broadcasting channel LBCI have searched into their archives to replay old sports events and although few of those were football games, earlier this week they decided to put on a friendly game between Lebanon and Kuwait which occurred in the build-up to the much anticipated 2000 Asian Cup, which Lebanon hosted. This represented a nice occasion to go back in time and see how football in Lebanon has developed since the turn of the century.Continue reading “Retro 2000: Lebanon triumph over Kuwait in preparation to home Asian Cup”
Lebanon made a big statement on Thursday when they held South Korea to a 0-0 draw in Beirut despite playing the game in an empty stadium. The Cedars managed to stop high-quality players such as Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min and Bordeaux’s Hwang Ui-Jo all while threatening to score themselves in what was an exemplary performance by the players and a tactical masterclass from head coach Liviu Ciobotariu. This now puts Lebanon in a good position to qualify for the Third Round of Qualification, an achievement which would also send Lebanon automatically to the 2023 Asian Cup.
For the past 25 days, Lebanon has been taken over by an incredible uprising that has seen a big part of the Lebanese population, whether in Lebanon or throughout the various diasporas all over the globe, writing history in search of a better future. But Thursday, it is the National Team’s turn to take centre stage, with the hope that they can benefit from this momentum and unified and patriotic national movement and achieve what would be a historical result against continental giants South Korea.
On Thursday, Lebanon will play their second game of the 2022 World Cup Qualifying campaign at home against Turkmenistan. The pressure is on after opening with a defeat to North Korea and Liviu Ciobotariu and the squad will be keen to get back to winning ways in front of their own fans. A big crowd is expected for the first World Cup Qualifier on Lebanese soil since March 2016 and the first at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium since June 2013, with anticipation high among local fans.
It has surely been a very difficult international break for the Lebanese squad, following the defeat to North Korea with a 1-0 loss in Oman, making it three defeats in a row and 4 out of 6 for new head coach Liviu Ciobotariu. These results and the performances that led to them have diluted the optimism and positivity that followed the West Asian Championships and have put a lot of pressure on the next match in Beirut against Turkmenistan.
Lebanon kicked off their 2022 World Cup Qualifying campaign in Pyongyang on Thursday with a 2-0 defeat against familiar foes North Korea. Two goals by Jong Il-Gwan were enough to see the hosts claim an important victory, with Lebanon captain Hassan Maatouk missing two good chances including a second-half penalty. The victory puts North Korea in a very good position ahead of their trip to group underdogs Sri Lanka. On the other hand, there are already questions being asked of Lebanon and their new head coach after the loss.
Lebanon started their West Asian Championship campaign with a 1-0 defeat to hosts Iraq, but there were numerous positives to take from the Cedars’ first performance under new head coach Liviu Ciobotariu. On what was a great occasion in the city of Karbala, where Iraqis filled the stadium to watch their National Team’s first competitive match on home soil in over a decade, it was the men in red who played the better football, and although they returned empty-handed, fans were left encouraged by what they had seen.
Friday night saw the biggest derby in Lebanese football take place under the lights of the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium, with Nejmeh and Ansar fighting for a place in the FA Cup semi-final. This was the biggest game of the season, especially since Ahed cruised to a third successive league title and with Nejmeh and Ansar both wanting to avoid another trophyless season. Lebanese football fans had been waiting for this game for months, and it didn’t disappoint in terms of entertainment.
In their last group game on Thursday night, Lebanon managed to win 4-1 against North Korea, which meant that they ended the group stages with 3 points, a -1 goal difference and 4 goals scored, exactly like Vietnam, the third-placed team in Group D. However, unfortunately, Lebanon’s overall tally of 7 yellow cards compared to Vietnam’s 5 means that Vietnam proceed to the next round instead of the Cedars through the fair-play rule that comes as a controversial tiebreaker after points, goal difference and goals scored. What a devastating way for the Cedars to go.