The Lebanese national team played out a draw with their Palestinian counterparts on Thursday in the first round of the ninth group of Asian qualifications for the 2026 and 2027 World Cups.
The match had a special character for both teams due to the current war between Israel and Hamas in the besieged Gaza Strip, as well as the military escalation in southern Lebanon.
Players from both teams observed a minute of silence before the start of the match in memory of the victims of the Gaza war, and players from the Palestinian team wore their country’s traditional keffiyeh during the playing of the national anthem.
The match was played at the Khalid Bin Mohammed Stadium in the Emirati city of Sharjah, which Lebanon chose as its home ground, in the absence of spectators due to the punishment imposed by the Disciplinary Committee of the International Football Federation (FIFA) on the Cedar Men and depriving them of fans for one match after the riots in their match against Syria as part of the 2022 World Cup qualifying tournament.
Palestine were better, but this did not lead to dangerous moments, which were rare in the match for both sides.
The result leaves Australia, who opened Group Nine competition on Thursday morning with a comfortable 7-0 win over Bangladesh, top of the standings with three points compared to Lebanon and Palestine’s points.