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Asian Cup 2019: Qatar routs Lebanon in dramatic debut Open in fullscreen

Uri Levy

Asian Cup 2019: Qatar routs Lebanon in dramatic debut

In second half, Qatar managed to organise and turn the game in their favour [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 January, 2019

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The final day of the Asian Cup group stage first round saw three Middle Eastern teams in action. Oman played against Uzbekistan, and Qatar played Lebanon
The final day of the Asian Cup group stage first round saw three Middle Eastern teams in action.

Oman played against Uzbekistan, while Qatar and Lebanon went head to head producing a rout for the Cedars.

The Omanis faced a highly organised and defensive minded Uzbek side, as expected from their Argentinean coach, ex-Egypt national team chief - Hector Cuper.

Odil Akhmedov scored for Uzbekistan in the first half, as Oman struggled to create chances. In the 72nd minute, Muhsin Al-Ghassani equalised for the Omanis, but five minutes before the final whistle Shomurodov ran through the Omani defence and nailed the winner from a close range.

Lebanon was attending their opening match of the tournament with great anticipation and hopes but quickly found out that even though Qatar is not the best side in the competition, they are hard to beat.

In one of the most unpleasant games to watch so far in 2019 edition of the Asian Cup, the Lebanese defended for the first 40 minutes, seeing Qatar failing to get a scoring chance despite holding the ball for 72 percent of the time.

In a shocking move, Qatar's coach Felix Sanchez Bas decided not to start with Abdelkarim Hassan, Asian player of the year for 2018, which influenced the Qatari strength and striking force.

Lebanese Ali Hamam took advantage of the situation and scored a surprising goal for Lebanon, that was ruled out by the Korean referee, Ko Hyung Jin, due to an unclear foul committed on Portuguese-Qatari Pedro Correia Pinto.

In the second half, Qatar managed to organise their play. Iraqi born Bassam Al-Rawi sent a perfect free kick from the verge of the box to the upper net of Mehdi Khalil, the Cedars' goalie, and made it 1-0 to Qatar.

The Lebanese began to attack with great pressure but couldn't create decent chances. On the other hand, with Hassan who came on instead of Abdelkarim Ali, Qatar was dangerous in every move.

Hassan was the architect of the move that brought to Qatar's second goal by Sudanese born Ali Almoez, with a great run from the left flank to the middle.

The Lebanese, and especially their coach Miodrag Radulovic, will look for the goals and points against Saudi Arabia and North Korea next. 


Uri Levy runs the popular football blog BabaGol, which covers football and politics focusing on the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter, and read his blog here.

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