Asian Cup QFs: Vietnam crush Cambodia; Azkals rescue point

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Vietnam took a big step towards qualifying for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup after cruising to a 5-0 rout of Cambodia at the My Dinh National Stadium on Tuesday.

Dinh Thanh Trung got the Vietnamese on their way with a deflected effort after 13 minutes, but they had to wait till the 56th minute before the hour mark to double their lead courtesy of a Nguyen Van Quyet diving header.

Nguyen Anh Duc then made it 3-0 on the hour mark with a close-range finish, after the Cambodian defence once again went to sleep and left him unmarked inside the six-yard box.

At this stage, the contest was effectively over but the hosts refused to take their foot off the pedal.

Nguyen Cong Phuong was next to get in on the act when he netted from a tight angle in the 76th minute, before a five-star display was completed in injury-time as Mac Hong Quan nodded past Sou Yaty after being picked out by Doan Van Hau.

The result takes Vietnam level on points at with Group C leaders Jordan, who came from behind twice to salvage a 3-3 draw away to Afghanistan.

Over in Group F, Philippines left it late to hold Yemen to a 1-1 draw at the neutral venue of Qatar’s Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium and stay top of Group F.

It initially looked as though the Azkals would be handed their first defeat of the campaign, after Tawfiq Ali pounced on a loose ball inside the box to fire past Neil Etheridge in the 63rd minute.

But, with a minute remaining, Phil Younghusband and Paul Mulders combined to release Mike Ott, who calmly fired past Ebrahim Ayash at the near post to earn his side a valuable point.

Only two points now separate Philippines, Yemen and second-placed Tajikistan, who claimed a second consecutive victory by beating Nepal 3-0 courtesy of goals from Nuriddin Davronov, Parvizdzhon Umarbayev and Manuchekhr Dzhalilov.

It was a disappointing evening for Singapore after a 2-1 loss to Turkmenistan at the Kopetdag Stadium leaves them bottom of Group E.

It looked as though the Lions would be returning home with at least a point for their troubles, after Irfan Fandi scored in the 27th minute to cancel out Wahyt Orazsahedow’s 18th-minute opener.

However, Orazsahedow popped up deep into injury-time and netted his second of the evening to seal a last-gasp victory for the hosts.

In the shock of the night, Chinese Taipei netted twice in stoppage time to beat Bahrain 2-1 and move just one point from the qualification spots in Group E.

There was also little for Malaysia to smile about following a 2-0 loss to Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Stadium, following second-half strikes by Jordi Tarres and Jaimes McKee.

Bottom of Group B with only a point from their opening three games, Harimau Malaya are already facing an uphill struggle in their bid to qualify for United Arab Emirates 2019.

It is Lebanon who continue to lead the way in the group after they extended their unbeaten record with a 5-0 triumph over DPR Korea.

Over in Group A, Myanmar showed tremendous spirit to come from two down and draw 2-2 with Kyrgyzstan at the Thuwunna Stadium.

Aung Thu and Kyaw Ko Ko were the heroes with second-half goals, after earlier efforts from Anton Zemlianukhin and Viktor Maier looked to have put Kyrgyzstan on course for three points.

Finally, Group C’s action saw Palestine thrash Bhutan 10-0, while Oman beat Maldives 3-1.

Comments