A stunning strike from Nguyen Tien Linh was the difference between the two sides as Vietnam defeated United Arab Emirates (UAE) 1-0 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Thursday.
Vietnam went into the match level on points with ASEAN rivals Thailand in Group G of the qualification tournament, but their solitary goal victory over 10-man UAE lifted them to pole position in the pool which also features Malaysia and Indonesia.
UAE were handed a huge blow when they were reduced to 10 players after Khalifa Al Hammadi was given his marching orders in the 37th minute. And Vietnam took full advantage of the numerical advantage by scoring and holding on to an all-important win.
Tien Linh, who had scored in Vietnam’s 3-1 win over Indonesia last month, received the ball with his back to the goal, but a brilliant turn and shot from almost 35 yards out left Al Ain FC goalkeeper Khalid Eisa with no chance whatsoever.
With four matches played of the second round, Vietnam are now three points clear of Thailand, who were beaten 2-1 by Malaysia on Thursday, at the top while the Emiratis and Malaysians are now third and fourth with six points apiece. Indonesia are yet to open their accounts in Group G.
VIETNAM: Dang Van Lam, Que Ngoc Hai, Bui Tien Dung, Do Duy Manh, Doan Van Hau, Nguyen Trong Hoang (Nguyen Cong Phuong 58′), Nguyen Tuan Anh, Nguyen Quang Hai, Do Hung Dung, Nguyen Van Toan (Nguyen Phong Hong Duy 58′), Nguyen Tien Linh (Nguyen Anh Duc 81′)
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Khalid Eisa, Yousef Jaber, Waleed Abbas, Mohammed Al Menhali, Mohammed Al Attas (Hamdan Al-Kamali 66′), Khalifa Al Hammadi, Omar Abdulrahman (Zayed Al Ameri 81′), Bandar Al Ahbabi, Abdullah Ramadan, Ahmed Khalil (Khalfan Mubarak 46′), Jassim Al Balooshi
(Photo credit: Vietnam Football Federation)