AFC Asian Cup 2019: Why Vietnam progressed past the group stages and not Lebanon

Both Vietnam and Lebanon finished the group stages of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 with equal points and a similar goal difference. However, it was the Golden Dragons that progressed into the knockout stages. Here’s why.

Vietnam had ended the group stages with a 2-0 win over Yemen, placing them third in group D behind Iran and Iraq with 3 points and a goal difference of -1.

They had scored 4 goals and conceded 5.

Lebanon also ended the group stages with identical statistics after pulling off an incredible 4-1 victory over North Korea in their final group E game that saw their goal difference improve from -4 to -1 in a single match. They too had scored 4 goals, conceded 5 and picked up 3 points.

Highlights – Lebanon vs DPR Korea

However, with Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan and Oman already having qualified as the three best third placed teams in the group stages, the fourth and final qualification berth between Vietnam and Lebanon was decided based on disciplinary record.

Vietnam had accumulated 5 yellow cards throughout the group stages, picking up 2 yellow cards against Iraq, 2 against Iran and 1 against Yemen. Lebanon on the other hand, had accumulated 6 yellow cards in their three group stage matches, with 2 against Qatar, 3 against Saudi Arabia and 1 against DPR Korea.

As a result of having one less yellow card, Vietnam ended up qualifying for the knockout stages in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 instead of Lebanon.