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Ciobotariu: Weather stopped Lebanon from scoring a bigger win

Thursday, October 17, 2019
Group H: Sri Lanka vs Lebanon

Colombo: Head coach Liviu Ciobotariu believes Lebanon would have scored a bigger win against Sri Lanka in the Asian Qualifiers if not for inclement weather on Tuesday.

The West Asians overcame tough conditions to defeat Sri Lanka 3-0 in their Group H tie to move up to third in the standings on six points, with Korea Republic and DPR Korea ahead by a point in qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

Hilal El-Helwe scored a brace while Hassan Maatouk slotted home from the penalty spot as Lebanon claimed their second consecutive win, having edged Turkmenistan 2-1 last Thursday.

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“We were affected by the bad weather,” said Romanian Ciobotariu. “Both sides struggled and things could have been different if the weather conditions were better.

“We expected a tough match because Sri Lanka are a fighting team and they play well at home,” he added. “They had good home matches against Turkmenistan and DPR Korea.”

The 48-year-old coach, however, congratulated his players for carving out the win.

“We came here for three points and we managed to get our second win,” he said. “I want to congratulate the players who were organised and determined to get this important victory.”

FT | 🇱🇰 Sri Lanka 0-3 🇱🇧 LEBANON

🏆 World Cup 2022 - Asian Cup 2023 joint qualifiers

Scorers: Hassan Maatouk, Hilal El-Helwe x2#YallaLebnen #منتخبنا_عزنا
Source: Sri Lanka Football TV

— FaLebanon (@FALebanon) October 15, 2019

It was an important win as Lebanon will host Korea Republic on November 14 and DPR Korea - who beat the West Asians 2-0 on Matchday One - five days later in Beirut.

With their confidence boosted after scoring back-to-back wins, Ciobotariu's side will aim high against the East Asian sides.

Photos: Football Federation of Sri Lanka

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