Lebanon. North Korea.
Not the kind of game you’d expect to produce a bit of soccer wizardry, is it?
It’s the third game of the Asian Cup group stages, and you’re unsure of who’s the favorite here.
North Korea, despite the whole North Korea thing, have reached the World Cup twice.
Lebanon never have.
And early on in the game, Korea is ahead 1-0.
Lebanon v North Korea. God bless the internet. pic.twitter.com/xB9tAgCWTF
— марк п (@whereistherent) January 17, 2019
There are, by the way, some goofy tiebreakers and hypotheticals at play here tonight.
If Oman-Turkmenistan ends in a draw and North Korea beat Lebanon 1-0, North Korea will qualify for the Round of 16 … with a goal difference of minus 9.#AsianCup2019
— Eric Subijano (@eric_subijano) January 17, 2019
And if Lebanon win by a huge score, they’ll likely get through over Vietnam.
So, finding themselves down a goal, desperate and everything on the line…
Hassan Maatouk cooks up this little bit of dribbling magic around the Korean defenders, sends the ball across to Felix Michel, and things are level.
— LEBANON🇱🇧 (@NATIONOFLEBANON) January 17, 2019
They went on to score two more, in the second half, and then Maatouk himself made it 4-1 with a penalty—bringing them tied with Vietnam in all the relevant categories:
3 points in the group.
-1 goal differential.
4 goals scored.
But there was one last tiebreaker at play, and it came down to this:
7 yellow cards for Lebanon, 5 yellow cards for Vietnam.
Harsh on Lebanon. To come from behind to beat North Korea 4-1 with the last goal scored on 90+8 minute and still fail to qualify for knock-out stages on disciplinary record by just one yellow card. Six > Vietnam's five.
— Artur Petrosyan (@arturpetrosyan) January 17, 2019
And so, unable to stay out of the referee’s book…
The 2019 Asian Cup ends for Lebanon.
They needed to win big.
And they did, with the help of Hassan Maatouk.
But not big enough.