UAE picked up a 3-2 win over Vietnam at the Zabeel Stadium on Tuesday evening to finish on top of Group G of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifiers.
Bert van Marwijk’s side leapfrogged Vietnam with 18 points as they survived a late scare by conceding two late goals.
UAE made a sensational start to their final group game by taking a 3-0 lead in the first 50 minutes. It must be noted that Vietnam had only given away a mere two goals in their first seven group matches.
The first goal came through Ali Salmeen’s exquisite touch after receiving a through-ball by Abdullah Ramadan in the 32nd minute.
Ali Mabkhout got into the act as well as he successfully converted from the spot eight minutes later.
Five minutes into the second half and Bandar Al Ahbabi’s cross saw Fabio Lima look to connect however, Vietnam custodian Bui Tan Truong parried the attempt with Mahmoud Khamis around to head home to make it 3-0.
Vietnam didn’t give up easily as a draw would have helped them finish on top of the cluster. Tien Ling Nguyen pulled one back with a top-notch goal in the 85th minute. Minh Vuong made the most of a mistake by UAE goalkeeper Ali Khaseif to add his name on the score-sheet.
In the final moments of the game, UAE held firm as Vietnam threw the kitchen sink to make it four consecutive wins since the World Cup qualifiers re-started in June.
Vietnam too progressed as one of the top four second best teams into the next round of World Cup qualifiers.
However, kudos to van Marwijk and his men as they were placed fourth on the table but with four consecutive victories, they managed to finish the campaign as group winners.
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