Sports

UAE deliver in style, Vietnam also through despite defeat

June 15, 2021
The United Arab Emirates survived a late scare to book their place in the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a 3-2 victory against Group G rivals Vietnam at Zabeel Stadium on Tuesday. — Courtesy photo
The United Arab Emirates survived a late scare to book their place in the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a 3-2 victory against Group G rivals Vietnam at Zabeel Stadium on Tuesday. — Courtesy photo

DUBAI — The United Arab Emirates survived a late scare to book their place in the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a 3-2 victory against Group G rivals Vietnam at Zabeel Stadium on Tuesday.

The win meant UAE dethroned Vietnam from the top spot of Group G on the final day to reach the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the second time running while there was a joy for Vietnam despite the defeat as they advanced for the first time in their history.

The group hosts pushed from the first minute, taking the game to their opponents but with little in the way of clear-cut chances. Mabkhout came closest in the first 20 minutes, but his tame effort from the edge of the box was easily collected by the goalkeeper.

The Vietnamese defenses finally yielded under Emirati pressure as Abdullah Ramadan sent a diagonal overhead pass for the onrushing central midfielder Ali Salmeen who controlled and rifled home the opener two minutes after the half-hour mark.

Just six minutes later, Ramadan was again the creative force as the UAE won a golden opportunity to add a second. The Al Jazira midfielder supplied a perfectly weighted through pass for Khalil Ibrahim who looked to round goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong, leaving him with no choice but to bring him down inside the box.

Striker Ali Mabkhout stepped up and confidently slotted home his 76th international goal, sending the goalkeeper the other way and shoring up the Whites’ lead.

Playing on their club’s home ground, Al Wasl duo Salmeen and Fabio Lima nearly combined to add a third UAE goal immediately after the restart as the former sent his teammate through with only the goalkeeper to beat, but the Brazil-born winger fluffed his lines, sending it wide.

It was left back Mahmoud Khamis who added the UAE’s third five minutes into the second half. A well-worked attacking move saw Bandar Al Ahbabi advance down the right and cross for Lima at the far post. Truong saved his header, but the ball fell for Khamis whose diving header from point-blank cemented the Whites victory.

Salmeen could have added his second of the night, showing immaculate anticipation to control a poor clearance on the edge of the box and firing on the half-volley, forcing a diving save from the Vietnamese goalkeeper.

Just as he did in the reverse fixture, Nguyen Tien Linh took advantage of a lapse of concentration from Emirati defenders to latch onto a through pass from substitute Tran Minh Vuong and slipped the ball past goalkeeper Ali Khaseif with just five minutes to go.

A mistake from Khaseif allowed Vuong to turn from provider to scorer as he stole the ball deep inside the UAE’s half, exchanging passes and converting home a second Vietnam goal in the final minute of added time. — Agencies


June 15, 2021
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