Final Round of FIFA World Cup 2022 Asian Qualifiers

Vietnam concede narrow defeat against Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 2021-11-16 21:37:41
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Al Shehri's looping header edges over the line despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong. (Photo: AFC)
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NDO – Vietnam have yet to halt their losing run in the final round of the 2022 World Cup Asian Qualifiers after conceding a 1-0 defeat against Saudi Arabia at Hanoi-based My Dinh National Stadium on the evening of November 16.

The Golden Star Warriors demonstrated a resilient fighting spirit, but this proved not enough to rescue them from their sixth consecutive loss in the Group B campaign.

Meanwhile, Shehri’s first-half goal allowed Saudi Arabia to further extend their lead at the top of the group with 16 points.

Saudi Arabia started the match better, enjoying a lion’s share of possession. The guests produced the first threat after just four minutes with Shehri flicking a header wide from Muwallah’s cross.

Vietnam responded with a number of counterattacks, which were, however, not effectively utilised.

In the 27th minute, Quang Hai drove a long pass to put Tien Linh in a one-on-one with Saudi goalkeeper Al Yami, but the Becamex Binh Duong forward was in an offside position.

Saudi Arabia broke the deadlock four minutes later as Shehri’s cunning header found the back of the net despite goalkeeper Tan Truong’s efforts to block it.

After halftime, the guests maintained their pressure and threatened to add a second goal twice within just 12 minutes, including a header that hit the crossbar.

The following minutes saw Vietnam fight bravely and tirelessly to search for an equaliser.

Vietnam's Nguyen Hoang Duc in action during the match. (Photo: AFC)

Coach Park Hang-seo made several substitutions seeking to strengthen Vietnam’s attacking power, with forward Nguyen Van Toan and midfielder Phan Van Duc called into action.

Van Toan utilised his agility to make Vietnam’s attacks more diversified and helped to create several opportunities. However, none of them were successfully converted.

In the 76th minute, it should have been a two-goal lead for Saudi Arabia as Muwallad slotted into an empty net from Brikan’s cross. However, the referee disallowed the goal after consulting with VAR and ruling that Brikan had fouled Vietnam’s Thanh Chung before passing the ball to Muwallad.

Vietnam squandered two opportunities to settle for a draw in stoppage time as the attempts by Que Ngoc Hai and Phan Van Duc both went narrowly wide.

Next up for Vietnam will be an away clash against Australia on January 27, 2022.