Boost for Vietnam as UAE top scorer to miss November’s World Cup Qualifiers trip to Hanoi

AFC Asian Cup 2019: UAE 1-0 Australia – Ali Mabkhout (68′)

The Group G of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers looks a three-way battle after Thailand recorded a 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the fourth matchday this week.

Vietnam also kept pressure at the top after recording their second successive win — a 3-1 victory over Indonesia in Bali five days after they had edged Malaysia 1-0 at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.

As a result, it is the ASEAN duo Thailand and Vietnam who top the group with seven points apiece while early favourites UAE find themselves third with six points. Malaysia have three points from three matches while Indonesia are rockbottom having lost all four of their matches so far.

The next matchday in Group G falling on November 14 will see Thailand take on Malaysia while Vietnam face their toughest challenge yet as they host the Emiratis in Hanoi.

However, there is already some good news for Park Hang-seo’s side as the visiting UAE will be without their veteran striker Ali Mabkhout for next month’s encounter.

29-year-old Mabkhout is the second highest goalscorer in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round scoring six goals in three matches — including a brace against Malaysia and a hattrick against Indonesia.

He is only second to Syria’s Omar Al Somah who has scored seven goals so far.

Nguyen Tien Linh seals Vietnam victory over Indonesia with a cool finish

However, Mabkhout will miss the November’s qualification tie against Vietnam after receiving his second yellow card of the campaign in the match against Thailand on October 15. The Al Jazira striker had also seen a yellow card in their opening match against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on September 10.

FIFA rules stipulate that “if a player receives two cautions in two different matches [of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers], he will be automatically suspended from his team’s subsequent match.”

So, will Park and his men able to record a win against a Mabkhout-less UAE and cement their position in Group G next month?

(Photo credit: UAE FA)