Nguyen Tien Linh scores as Vietnam edge past 10-man UAE

by NDO15 November 2019 Last updated at 07:00 AM

Nguyen Tien Linh celebrates scoring the solitary goal for Vietnam. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
Nguyen Tien Linh celebrates scoring the solitary goal for Vietnam. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

Forward Nguyen Tien Linh scored the solitary goal as Vietnam edged past the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 1-0 on matchday five of the second round of the 2022 World Cup Asian qualifiers on November 14 to climb to top of Group G with three points clear.

After just a few minutes of playing on the back foot, Park Hang-seo’s side reclaimed control and successfully set the pace of the game. On the strokes of halftime, Tien Linh blasted a right-footed strike from the edge of the box to hand Vietnam a third win in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The convincing victory not only helps the Golden Dragons extend their unbeaten run to four games but also places them on top of the group with ten points, three clear of Thailand, who were defeated 1-2 away by Malaysia in another match on the same day.

Bert van Marwijk’s side travelled to Hanoi deprived of the services of their all-time top scorer Ali Mabkhout who had scored six of their eight strikes in the qualifiers so far but now serves a one-match suspension for accumulation of yellow cards.

Due to Mabkhout’s absence, the UAE lacked the needed danger and acumen in their attacks, which prevented them from creating any clear-cut chances despite their ball possession in the opening minutes at My Dinh National Stadium.

After a slow start, Vietnam began to regain control in midfield and successfully set the pace of the game. The hosts deployed much ball along the right wing with the presence of Trong Hoang and Quang Hai, but their combinations lacked the decisiveness to be turned into scoring opportunities.

Vietnam produced the first clear-cut chance in the 36th minute, with Trong Hoang dribbling past Yusuf Jabir in the right flank and driving the ball into the box. His cross found Tien Linh at the centre but the forward placed a shot wide.

The turning point of the match came three minutes later, as the UAE were forced to play with 10 players after Khalifa Al Hammadi was sent off following his foul on Tien Linh, who got through on goal and had only the goalkeeper to beat.

Quang Hai could not convert the resulting freekick with a strike into the wall, but he played a crucial part in the attacking situation that led to Vietnam’s opening goal in the next four minutes. The 22-year-old midfielder rolled the ball towards the forward and made a run to make space for Tien Linh, who drove an eye-catching shot from 23 metres to beat UAE goalkeeper Khalid Eisa.

Strongly boosted by the opener, Park’s troops held on with their momentum in the second half and created numerous difficulties for the discouraged UAE side in finding their way to the Vietnamese goal.

The hosts came close to doubling their advantage on the hour mark, as Doan Van Hau curled a brilliant cross into the centre of the box, only to see it wasted by Tien Linh with an inaccurate shot.

With time running out, the presence of favourite forward Nguyen Cong Phuong, who replaced Van Toan in the 57th minute, diversified Vietnam’s attacks and allowed them to create some more chances to widen the gap, none of which, however, was successfully converted.

The 1-0 score remained unchanged until the final whistle, but it was enough to send Park’s side to top of Group G after matchday five, thus making a great stride towards booking a place in the final round of the 2022 World Cup Asian qualifiers.

Next up for Vietnam will be another home clash against Thailand on November 19.

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