Theo Bucker's side couldn't continue their dream run in qualifying as they began their final round campaign with a disappointing home loss to Al AnnabiQatar ran out fortunate 1-0 winners at Camille Chamoun Stadium with the game's lone goal coming from Sebastian Soria capitalszing on a poor pass back from the Lebanese defense in Sunday's opening final round 2014 World Cup qualifier.
The match began with Lebanon sitting deep with 10 men behind the ball looking to counter attack with a long ball over the top of the defence.
The plan is one the Lebanese are used to under coach Theo Bucker who has looked to utilise the speed and one-on-one ability of Cedars wingers Hassan Maatouk and Ahmad Zreik.
The first action came in the eighth minute when Soria connected with a long ball and forced a diving save out of Lebanese keeper Ziad Samad, giving Qatar a corner kick.
The proceeding corner resulted in a dash of goal box drama, as consecutive chances fell to the Qataris only to be desperately saved by Samad and the Cedars defence.
Lebanon did get their own opportunities to attack and nearly took the lead in the 27th minute when striker Mohammad Ghaddar slid a pass to the right of the box for midfielder Abbas Atwi. Atwi produced an awkward first-time shot, despite having time to take a touch, that beat the Qatari keeper but hit the left post.
Atwi is notorious for being one of the most talented Lebanese players but is equally known to hinder his talent with poor decisions on the field. In this case, a touch to prepare himself would have not only given him a more solid strike but time for Ghaddar and Maatouk to better position themselves in case of a rebound.
Spurned chances and poor build up from both sides left the scoreline goalless until half time.
The second half saw both sides come out with increased energy but little difference in production.
While Qatar's second-half strategy appeared to have them attempt to build possession from defence, it was Lebanon's own backline that gifted Uruguay-born Soria his goal.
Chasing the ball back towards his own goal on the right sideline, Ramez Dayoub played a pass intended for either goalkeeper Samad or one of the Lebanon's central back pairing. The poorly placed pass was nicked by the oncoming Soria, whose cheeky touch around Samad made way for an easy pass into Lebanon's goal.
The game seemed destined to end 1-0 when substitute Hassan Chaito broke through midfield finding fellow sub Hassan Mohammad with a chip pass. Mohammad's first touch was played into the Lebanon defender Youssef Mohamad situated directly in front of the goal. In an easier to score than miss situation the defender's backline instincts must have arose as his touch went wide rather than earning his nation a draw.
Qatar now tops the group with Iran on three points a piece. For Lebanon, the loss will be a setback as many local football analysts believed a win over Qatar while in Beirut was Lebanon's best chance of picking up points.
The loss comes after a turbulant week in which fans were initially banned from the match over fears that they would criticise Qatari Emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The ruling was overturned by Youth and Sports Minister Faysal Karami on Thursday, much to the joy of the Lebanese fans.
Justin Salhani is a journalist in Beirut, Lebanon. You can email him at email@example.com & follow him on twitter @JustinSalhani