"brendan donley" "the assist" soccer diagram

#68 // Maatouk → Michel Lebanon 1 – 1 North Korea

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.



There are, by the way, some goofy tiebreakers and hypotheticals at play here tonight.



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.



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.


Exactly tied.


But there was one last tiebreaker at play, and it came down to this:

7 yellow cards for Lebanon, 5 yellow cards for Vietnam.






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.