Cedars protect from India

Mark Huairy dunks furiously during Lebanon’s massive 103-74 victory over India in the penultimate 2023 World Cup qualifier in the Australasia zone on the floor of Beirut’s Pierre Gemayel Stadium. Photo courtesy of FIBA

Recently, nothing can resist the cedars on the Asian continent. In addition to losing in Jordan (74-63) last February, Jad el-Haj’s men are crushing everything in their path in this “Australian-Asia” qualifying group for the 2023 World Cup (starting late August in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines) . Faced with last-placed India in the standings, the task did not look insurmountable to secure a seventh consecutive success in the competition.

If this second match in three days was a formality, the Lebanese coach warned: “We must always play with the same seriousness and the same commitment as tonight,” Jad el-Haj said in anticipation of his team’s victory. man at the expense of New Zealand (77-65), Friday at the Pierre Gemayel stadium in Beirut, in the Camille Chamoun sports town.

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The message received by Cedars is 5 out of 5 who, despite missing a number of performance players such as Wael Arakcji, their master of the game, Sergio Darvich or Eli Chamoun, dominated their opponents with head and shoulders without difficulty.

The Lebanese, who were in the lead during the first five minutes of the game, quickly regained the advantage and did not let go until the final whistle. With the once again exemplary Ali Haidar linking the winning shots and offensive rebounds with the opponent’s racket, the locals had plenty of time to turn the scale of their attacking defense against the quickly overwhelmed Indian team.

On failures until the last seconds of the first quarter, Jean-Marc Jarrouge’s long-range shot to the siren sounds like the first blow to the head of the guests, transferred to 4 lengths (24-20).

The gap quickly widens to over 10 units from the start of the second round. The Indians are literally suffocated by the ever-present pressure from teammates Ali Haidar, center and captain of the evening, who will finish his performance with 27 points and 7 rebounds, which is the best result of the meeting. Jarrouj and Jad Khalil are not far behind, those who scored 18 and 15 points respectively and fueled the interiors heavily, including Jonathan Allrej, also the author of 15 points.

Sometimes misleading statistics are enough to sum up the overwhelming dominance of the Lebanese. With at least 31 offensive rebounds and 20 steals, which contributed greatly to 43 points scored on turnovers (when one team returns the ball before the other can hit), the Cedars left their rivals no luck.

Philippines in sight

The final score is final: 103-74. If not everything was perfect, Lebanon continues to move forward without hesitation towards the first place of the group. A ranking that would guarantee him a place among the top seeds in the next World Cup is more than necessary to hope for a good result in such a high level competition.

But before planning such a date, the Cedars will have two last chances to acclimatize on the South Asian floors during their trips to the Philippines and New Zealand on February 24 and 27.

Source: L Orient Le Jour

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