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Beirut: Lebanon managed to score three important points after defeating its Sri Lankan counterpart 3-2 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 in Qatar and the 2023 Asian Cup in China, while it swept away South Korea, Turkmenistan, scored five goals on the same field.
South Korea topped the group standings with 10 points, with a goal difference against Lebanon, Turkmenistan came third with six points, and Sri Lanka was fourth without a score.
The leaders of each of the eight Asian groups and the four best 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.
Good luck for the Lebanese national team
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 in the absence of its captain and top scorer Hassan Maatouk and striker Hassan Shaito “Mouni” due to an injury they sustained during their Al-Ansar team matches in the AFC Cup and 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 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 as many opportunities as George Melki, Nader Matar and Rabie Ataya, and Al-Omari managed to score his second personal goal with a “back scissor” shot after a corner kick by Muhammad Haider (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).
Striker Hilal El-Helweh is out of the next match
Lebanon striker Hilal Al-Helweh received a warning that will keep him away from the next match against Turkmenistan next Wednesday. The goal 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 due to the harshness of the Sri Lankan players who threatened Mahdi Khalil’s goal on more than one occasion.