5 September 2019
North Korea will kick off their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign in front of the home supporters as they take on Lebanon at Kim Il-sung Stadium in the opening match of Group H.
The hosts seem to have managed to overcome a severe crisis that has seen them lose six consecutive games during which they’ve conceded over 3.5 match goals on each occasion while scoring one goal or less five times in the process. They have racked up a three-game winning run ahead of this clash, beating India 1-0 and Tajikistan twice by the same 1-0 scoreline. Also, none of North Korea’s last six games on home turf has ended in a draw (W4, L2), with four of those games seeing two times divided by a multiple-goal margin. Chollima will now try to post their first home win over Lebanon in the 21st century after failing to do it in the previous two attempts (D1, L1).
Meanwhile, the visitors struggled to impress in 2019, pulling off just two wins in seven outings since the turn of the year (W2, D1, L4). Interestingly, while all five of their failures in that sequence saw Lebanon score one goal or less, both of their wins have been accompanied by at least two goals in their rivals’ nets. However, the Cedars are winless in their last seven away games (D1, L6), having suffered five consecutive road defeats ahead of this trip. Lebanon’s main problem in that period has been their struggle in the final third, as they’ve scored barely one goal across those seven matches.
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