The AFC Asian Cup continues on Wednesday when two matches are on the schedule as the second set of games in the tournament get up and running with the middle fixtures in Group A of the competition.
Qatar assumed the early initiative in this section in the opening set of games and they will be looking to secure their qualification to the knockout stages here with the other three teams all aiming to put themselves in position to qualify later in the piece.
Lebanon vs China (11.30)
The opening match of the two on Wednesday sees two sides who failed to score in their opening game going at it when Lebanon, who were beaten 3-0 by the hosts Qatar to start up their campaign, take on a China side who were held to a goalless draw by Tajikistan on Saturday.
Lebanon went into the tournament with question marks over their offensive output and we didn’t really get many answers on Friday evening to suggest that anything is going to be different here. China are clearly weaker prey than Qatar were always going to be but we need to see an improvement from the Lebanese to believe that they can win this match. China were favourites to beat Tajikistan in their opening match, although I didn’t have it that way around, so might well be disappointed to have been held to a 0-0 draw. They are favourites again in this one but I didn’t see anything to suggest that should be the case. In truth, these looked like two average teams first time up and I’m not really in any rush to get involved in this one.
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Tajikistan vs Qatar (14.30)
The second match of the day sees the defending champions and tournament hosts Qatar in action once again when they look to secure their spot in the knockout stages of the competition when they face Tajikistan.
Qatar were impressive in dispatching an ordinary Lebanon side in the opening match of the tournament and if there is natural improvement to come from them then they are going to be in a good place here. Tajikistan are in a good space to qualify for the knockout stages having taken a point from China and still having Lebanon to play so this is a match where both might well have a bit of a go and look for a win which will do whoever gets it the world of good. I expect Qatar to win this match but I do think Tajikistan can offer something here. They had 20 goal attempts against China and an xG of over 1 so they probably should have got more from their first game than they did. I mentioned in my preview of that game that Tajikistan offer enough offensively to be competitive here and I’m not convinced that this Qatar defence is as watertight as it looked against Lebanon. I like over 2.5 goals here. If Tajikistan score I expect this line to be covered no problem but Qatar did look good enough in attack to suggest they can cover it too. I fancy a game with a few goals in this one.
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