On Thursday night, Lebanon face North Korea in their final group game at this Asian Cup at the Sharjah Football Stadium. This game is crucial for our team as it is our door to the last 16 of the 2019 Asian Cup, a stage we are yet to reach in our history. And while two defeats in our opening two matches against Qatar and Saudi Arabia have put us in a tricky situation to make this happen, there is still hope.
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.
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.
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
In a friendly match in the Kuwait Sports Club Stadium in Kaifan, Lebanon suffered their first defeat since March 2016 and said goodbye to the 16-game unbeaten road that had become all the talk around this team, and with it the unhealthy state of over-confidence that had filled the national team and its fans. Continue reading “A much-needed wake-up call ahead of final stages of Asian Cup preparations”
Finally, the Lebanese Premier League season has begun, and it all started with a thrilling encounter at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut on Friday night.
It is now 16 matches for Lebanon without a defeat, with this game being the eighth draw of this run, and the ninth clean sheet. Montenegrin coach Miodrag Radulovic only has two more training camps to prepare his team before they set off for the Asian Cup in the UAE next January, and we are getting a better idea of what that team will look like with every passing day.
It has already been 10 months since Lebanon’s qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup was confirmed and on Thursday, preparations for the tournament began with a 1-0 victory against Jordan in their own backyard. It was a very good result which extends the Cedars’ unbeaten run to 15 matches dating back to March 2016. This is the second longest run currently standing in international football after Spain. But as the match was a friendly, it was a lot less the result and a lot more the performance and system of play that were under the microscope as Radulovic’s side played for the first time in 5 months.