A preview of Lebanon’s game against Saudi Arabia

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.

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Refereeing mistakes cost Lebanon as they start Asian Cup with defeat

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.

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A successful trip down under for the Cedars

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.

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Lebanon held by Uzbekistan and beaten by Australia

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

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The final stage in the Asian Cup preparations is the most important one

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.

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