Lebanon vs. Qatar  0 - 1


Lebanon coach laments defensive error

4 June 2012 04:36

Lebanon coach Theo Bucker was disappointed with the 1-0 home defeat to Qatar in Sunday's opening final round 2014 World Cup qualifier.

The German was left to lament Ramez Dayoub's poor back pass from which Sebastian Soria scored the only goal on 63 minutes.

Lebanon had otherwise been impressive and in control with Bucker's counter-attacking formation working as planned, after weathering the early onslaught from the visitors.

Bucker insisted his side deserved a draw, with Youssef Mohamad spurning a late chance, while Abbas Atwi struck the woodwork in the first half.

"We were unlucky tonight as we should have at least got a point from the match," Bucker told reporters.

"We awarded Qatar three valuable points after a defensive mistake which has cost us the game tonight."

Lebanon's next game at home to Uzbekistan on Friday, before they make a difficult trip to South Korea four days later.

"We will try our best to make a good comeback and work on the mental side with the players especially because we will be playing two more matches in the next nine days and it will be very difficult for us," Bucker said.

Qatar boss Paulo Autuori was delighted to take home the three points after limited preparation time.

"Despite working together only for a short period of time ahead of this match, our players could show a good level," he told reporters.

"I had told my players that they should be ready to face all sorts of challenges. We were up against a strong opponent, but we showed real character and maturity, and executed our strategies very well. I'm happy with them."

The Brazilian insisted it was a taxing game and wanted to give his side a chance to rest ahead of Friday's clash with South Korea in Doha.

"The match was difficult for us and we will give the players rest after this hard match," he said.

"We will look forward to the next match as it will be harder and hopefully we can get a good result."


AFC World Cup qualifying wrap: Japan cruise past Oman

4 June 2012 02:47

Japan fired a warning shot to their rivals in Asian qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 3-0 win over Oman on Sunday.

The hosts wasted little time, attacking frequently in the first 10 minutes and putting Oman under constant pressure.

With shots raining from all points the first goal was a matter of time, finally coming in the 12th minute when Yuto Nagatomo's cross was volleyed in by Keisuke Honda with his left foot.

With most of the first half's play taking place in the visitors' half, most of the pressure fell onto Oman goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, who saved several great chances but was himself saved by the official's flag more than once before the half ended at 1-0.

Japan picked up where they left off after the half ended, pressing Oman hard before doubling their lead in the 51st minute after Kagawa skilfully faked a shot before passing to Ryoichi Maeda, who converted from close range.

The Jubilo Iwata veteran continued to demonstrate his mastery against Asian clubs, yet lagged in pace behind his Europe-based team-mates.

Just three minutes later, Shinji Okazaki capitalised on a defensive error to give Japan a 3-0 lead on a blistering shot. The goal came as a relief to the Stuttgart man after he failed to capitalise on multiple first-half opportunities.

It was only thanks to two last-minute saves by Al-Habsi against Honda and substitute Hiroshi Kiyotake that the Samurai Blue failed to expand their lead even further as they closed the match with a flurry of chances.

The victory in front of over 63,000 fans extended Japan's record under Alberto Zaccheroni to 13-6-2.

Also in Group B, Jordan played out a 1-1 draw with Iraq in Amman.

Nashat Akram put Iraq in front after just 14 minutes but Zico's side were unable to hang onto their lead, giving it away just two minutes before half-time.

Ahmad Hayel Ibrahim was the scorer as Jordan salvaged a point in front of their home fans.

In Group A, Iran upset Uzbekistan with a last-gasp 1-0 win in Tashkent.

Uzbekistan last lost a match at home in March 2010 against the United Arab Emirates.

But they were unable to score and Mohamad Khalatbari took advantage, netting the winner in the third minute of injury time.

The other match saw Qatar defeat Lebanon 1-0 in Beirut thanks to Sebastian Soria's second-half goal.


Lebanon backflip on Qatar qualifier

1 June 2012 18:15

The Lebanese government has reversed its decision to prevent fans from attending the country's 2014 World Cup qualifier against Qatar.

It had been decreed that the game would take place behind closed doors because of FIFA's concerns over recent violent clashes in the state capital of Beirut, which are related to the current political instability in neighbouring Syria.

However, after a backlash from fans on social media networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, the Lebanese government has now decide to allow supporters into the Asian Group A qualifying meeting with Qatar at the Camille Chamoun Sports City stadium on Sunday.

Lebanon, who have never before qualified for the World Cup, are also set to host Uzbekistan at the same venue next Thursday.