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Djibouti falls to Lebanon in FIFA Arab Cup preliminary round

The circumstances were always against Djibouti heading into their FIFA Arab Cup preliminary round matchup against more pedigreed Lebanon, but the unfancied side gave the Lebanese stubborn competition in their 0-1 defeat on Wednesday at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. For most of the match Lebanon dominated and had the majority of opportunities, but Djiboutian keeper Innocent Hankuye and the defense did well to hold out and the attack even generated a couple of chances, a 22nd minute shot that was deflected wide being the best first half opportunity as Djibouti managed to keep things scoreless by halftime.

However, Lebanon stepped up their efforts and took advantage of loss of focus to find the game’s only goal early into the second half. Mohamed Haydar looped a pass over the Djiboutian defense and Hilal El-Helwe made no mistake, connecting cleanly with his volley to put it over the head of Hankuye and into the net in the 47th minute. Djibouti’s best chance of the match came soon after in the 53rd minute when Mahdi Mahabeh was well sent in by a through pass, but Lebanese keeper Mehdi Khalil came up big to deny the low shot and that was as good as it got for Djibouti.

The Gulf Times has a match report in the first link below and a link to the highlights is further down.

Highlights from FIFA TV (YouTube)

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