Vietnam have lost out on penalties to United Arab Emirates in the bronze medal playoff at Asian Games 2018 after a 1-1 draw between the sides on Saturday.
Despite Vietnam dominating proceedings from the opening whistle, it was the Emirati who took the lead at the Pakansari Stadium courtesy of a fine individual effort by Ahmed Al-Attas in the 17th minute.
Receiving possession just inside the opposition half, Al-Attas embarked on an enterprising run to the edge of the box before firing away a shot that squeezed just past Bui Tien Dung’s despairing dive and into the bottom corner.
But, just ten minutes later, the Vietnamese pulled level courtesy of a brilliant team goal which was initiated by Pham Duc Huy picking out Nguyen Van Toan with a neat pass out on the right.
With a brilliant piece of skill, Van Toan poked the ball through the legs of Ahmed Rashed and then played in Nguyen Anh Duc, who in turn guided the ball into the path of Nguyen Van Quyet for an easy tap-in at the back post.
Vietnam continued to look the likelier of the two sides to score again and created plenty of chances to put the result beyond doubt, but were just unable to find the killer touch in front of goal.
Pham Xuan Manh spurned a golden opportunity in the 88th minute when he got his header all wrong after being picked out unmarked inside the area by Tran Minh Vuong’s corner.
Then, in the fifth minute of injury-time, Minh Vuong, who had scored a peach of a freekick in the semi-final against Korea Republic, looked destined to repeat the feat – this time from 35 yards out.
Nonetheless, UAE goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Shamsi reacted in time just as to ball looked set to creep in under the bar to push it over and force the dreaded penalty shootout.
Having already taken part in two previous shootouts, UAE did have every right to be confident and their experience with the high-pressure situation proved telling indeed.
Al-Attas, Zayed Al-Ameri, Khaled Ibrahim and Shahin Suroor all made no mistake in converting from 12 yards but, while Vu Van Thanh, Ha Duc Chinh and Phan Van Duc did the same for Vietnam, golden boy Nguyen Quang Hai fired their second effort inches wide of the post having sent Al-Shamsi the wrong way.
That left Minh Vuong needing to score their crucial fifth penalty but Al-Shamsi produced a fine save, pushing his shot onto the bar and back out to break Vietnam hearts and seal bronze medal for United Arab Emirates following a 4-3 shootout triumph.
VIETNAM: Bui Tien Dung, Do Duy Manh, Bui Tien Dung, Doan Van Hau, Vu Van Thanh, Pham Duc Huy, Nguyen Quang Hai, Pham Xuan Manh, Nguyen Van Toan (Tran Minh Vuong 66’), Nguyen Van Quyet (Phan Van Duc 73’), Nguyen Anh Duc (Ha Duc Chinh 55’).
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Mohamed Al-Shamsi, Abdullah Ghanem, Hamad Al-Jasmi, Ahmed Rashed, Ismael Khaled, Mohammed Al-Attas (Khaled Ibrahim 84’), Shahin Suroor, Rashed Mohammed (Zayed Al-Ameri 43’), Husain Abdalla Omar (Majid Salim 66’), Mohammed Khalfan, Ahmed Al-Attas.
Photo credit: Asian Games 2018