Qatar hosted the World Cup just over 12 months ago and they are back on the international stage, this time hosting the Asian Cup.
The hosts are also defending champions after beating Japan in the final four years ago and they begin their quest for back-to-back titles against Lebanon on Friday.
Mohamed Muntari suffered an ankle injury in Qatar’s warm up match against Cambodia and will miss the entire tournament after surgery.
Osama Al Tairi will also miss out after tearing a cruciate ligament in the build up, Ismail Mohammed has been called up in his place.
For Lebanon, Wimbledon’s Omar Bugiel and Atlante’s Daniel Lajud have had their international clearance secured and will be available for this clash.
Qatar can be backed at 2/7 for the victory, while Lebanon are 9/1 outsiders and the draw is available at 18/5.
Over 2.5 goals @ EVS
Qatar are a short price to get the better of Lebanon in this first matchup of the Asian Cup. The two teams were in the same group four years ago, with Qatar winning their clash 2-0.
However, this could be a more high-scoring affair, with the Maroons’ last five matches producing over 2.5 goals and a repeat of that is fancied in this matchup.
Lebanon have scored in six of their last eight matches and could pose some problems to the hosts, who are still acclimatising to the methods of new manager Tintin Marquez, who took over from Carlos Queiroz recently.
However the Cedars may struggle to deal with the attacking output of Qatar, who beat Afghanistan 8-1 recently.
They are the defending champions and look set for a deep run in this year’s tournament so could rack up the score against these opponents. Take over 2.5 goals to land in this one.
Almoez Ali to score at anytime @ 23/20
Almoez Ali scored a hat-trick in Qatar’s recent win over Cambodia and looks set to play a prominent role in this clash.
The striker is the country’s record goal scorer, netting 50 times for them, and has had a solid season at club side Al-Duhail.
Ali looks the likeliest route to goal for the hosts and could seriously test the lowest ranked side in Group A, who may struggle to contain him.
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