Some important lessons and a positive outlook for Lebanon despite heartbreak

Picture taken from the Lebanese Football Association

Thursday’s game against Iran was one hell of an emotional rollercoaster for Lebanese fans as the Cedars led for almost the entire game before falling apart in stoppage time and losing the game 2-1. Despite the supporters ban imposed by FIFA supposedly for “security reasons” in what was Lebanon’s first home game of this stage of World Cup Qualifying, the game was played with intensity and the tension was palpable as Lebanon came agonisingly close to a historic result that would have placed them in a very favourable position in the overall context of the group.

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What we learnt from the UAE match

Photo taken from the Lebanese Football Association

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.

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Retro 2000: Lebanon triumph over Kuwait in preparation to home Asian Cup

The newly-built Tripoli International Stadium

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.

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Lebanon dreaming big after a big result against South Korea


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.

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From the streets to the stands; the Lebanese revolution prepares to face familiar foes South Korea


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.

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Lebanon host Turkmenistan in must-win qualifier


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.

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Worries start to appear after Lebanon lose in Oman


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.

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A tricky start for the Cedars

north korea vs lebanon

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.

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Disappointing result but loads of positives for the Cedars on opening night

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.

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Classico quarter-final doesn’t disappoint as Ansar outplay rivals Nejmeh

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.

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