Lebanon scored three important points when it defeated its Sri Lankan counterpart 3-2 on Saturday at the South Korean city of Goyang, in the eighth stage of the second round of the double qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and the Asian Cup 2023 in China, while South Korea swept Turkmenistan. With a clean five on the same field.
South Korea topped the group’s standings with 10 points and a goal difference against Lebanon, Turkmenistan came third with six points, and Sri Lanka ranked fourth without credit. The leaders of each of the eight Asian groups and the best four second-placed teams qualify for the decisive round of World Cup qualifiers, while also guaranteeing qualification directly to the 2023 Asian Cup finals scheduled in China.
The fortunes of the Lebanese national team rose after the withdrawal of North Korea and the cancellation of its results.
The “Men of the Cedars” team played the match minus its leader and top scorer Hassan Maatouk and striker Hassan Shaito “Mouni”, due to an injury they sustained during their team Al-Ansar matches in the AFC Cup, and they will therefore be absent until the end of the current round of qualifiers.
Coach Jamal Taha was also forced to play without playmaker Basil Jaradi, who moved from Croatian Hejduk Split to Cypriot Apollon, because he was subjected to a quarantine for coming into contact with a person infected with the Corona virus. Contrary to the events, Ahmed Wasim Razik took advantage of a mistake in the coverage by Lebanese defender Joan Al Omri, to single out and open the scoring against goalkeeper Mahdi Khalil (9).
One minute later, the Japanese defender of Tokyo corrected the error, and equalized with his head after a cross from Muhammad Haider (11). The Lebanese surrounded the entire area of the Sri Lankan national team, and Muhammad Kadouh was able to translate control into an advance with his head after a cross from Hussein Zain (17).
The Lebanese missed a number of opportunities through George Melki, Nader Matar and Rabie Ataya, and Al-Omari managed to score his second personal goal with a distinctive “back scissor” shot, after a corner kick by Muhammad Haidar (44). The Lebanese team continued its pressure in the second half, and the Jordanian referee, Ahmed Yaqoub Ibrahim, awarded a penalty kick to the Sri Lankan team. The Lebanese questioned its validity, Razek reduced the result (62).
Lebanon striker Hilal El-Helweh received a warning that would keep him away from the next match against Turkmenistan next Wednesday, a goal that gave the “Golden Elephants” players morale and looked better than the Lebanese, whose performance declined despite their possession of the ball in order to avoid any injuries, given the roughness of the Sri Lankan players who threatened Mahdi’s goal Khalil on more than one occasion.
In the second match, the goals of the “Taeguk Warriors” were scored by French Bordeaux player Ui-ju Hwang (9 and 72), Qatari Al Sadd player Tae Hee Nam (45), Young Geun Kim (56) and German Freiburg player Hun Kwon Chang (62). Lebanon needs a draw in its match against Turkmenistan to guarantee the group runner-up, and this may be enough to win a seat in the final qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup.