Lebanon - Uzbekistan Preview: Cedars and White Wolves chase points after losing starts
Uzbekistan have had a big week with a change of coach ahead of Friday's qualifier in Beirut, where Theo Bucker's side will be desperate to get some points on the board
By Ben Somerford
Dayoub, Najjarin, Mohamad, Ismail
Zreik, Atwi, Maatouk
Inomov, Mullajanov, Ismailov, Tukhtakhojaev
Kapadze, Djeparov, Akhmedov, Andreev, Hasanov
Lebanon's opening defeat to Qatar means coach Theo Bucker will know the importance of three points at home in this clash, meaning he may opt to start the more attacking-minded Nader Matar or Hassan Chaito in place of midfield destroyer Hussein Dakik. Ramez Dayoub, whose error against Qatar, proved costly should retain his place despite pressure from Ali Hamam. The Cedars are still without key pair Roda Antar and Mahmoud El Ali due to injury, robbing them of attacking creativity.
Uzbekistan have had a busy week with coach Vadim Abramov resigning following Sunday's 1-0 home loss to Iran, replaced by Bunyodkor boss Mirjalol Qosimov. The new man will be happy to have five players available after suspensions, including 2011 AFC Player of the Year Server Djeparov, as well as Shavkat Mulladjanov, Sanjar Tursunov, Islom Tukhtakhojaev and Vagiz Galiulin. Those players had copped extra bans after deliberately getting bookings in the fifth fixture in the third round so they'd serve their suspensions before the final phase. Azizbek Haydarov hasn't travelled due to injury, replaced in the squad by Kenja Turaev.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Lebanon had never qualified for the final round of World Cup qualiying through Asia prior to this campaign.
- The Cedars are currently ranked 143rd in the world, the worst of the final 10 nations in the qualifying race through Asia.
- Lebanon haven't won an international match this year, including defeats to UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Qatar as well as a draw with Oman in a May friendly.
- Uzbekistan have lost four of their past five internationals, including defeats to Iran, South Korea, UAE and Kuwait, although the latter three were in friendlies.
- New boss Qosimov coached Uzbekistan for approximately two years when the side fell short in the 2010 World Cup qualifying. Qosimov has since led Bunyodkor to back-to-back Uzbek titles.
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Top 3 Predictions
Lebanon 2-1 Uzbekistan
- 25.65 %
Lebanon 2-0 Uzbekistan
- 12.94 %
Lebanon 1-0 Uzbekistan
- 12.47 %
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Asia) (WCQA)||Mar 26, 2013||Uzbekistan 1 - Lebanon 0|
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Asia) (WCQA)||Jun 8, 2012||Lebanon 1 - Uzbekistan 1|
|Mar 26, 2013||Uzbekistan 1 - Lebanon 0||WCQA|
|Mar 22, 2013||Lebanon 5 - Thailand 2||ACQ|
|Mar 17, 2013||Bahrain 0 - Lebanon 0||FR|
|Feb 6, 2013||Iran 5 - Lebanon 0||ACQ|
|Nov 14, 2012||Qatar 1 - Lebanon 0||WCQA|
|-||Ziad Al Samad|
|2||Ali Al Saadi||Defender|
|10||Abbas Ahmad Atwi||Midfielder|
|17||Mahmoud El Ali||Striker|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed