World Cup qualifiers: Que Ngoc Hai converts last-gasp penalty to give Vietnam 2-1 win against Malaysia

Saturday, 2021-06-12 01:45:21
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Que Ngoc Hai and teammates burst with joy after the Vietnam captain scores a last-gasp winner during their match against Malaysia on June 11. (Photo: Vnexpress)
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NDO – Captain Que Ngoc Hai converted a penalty with nine minutes to go to hand Vietnam a much-needed 2-1 victory over Malaysia on Friday night, thus bringing the Golden Star Warriors closer to a historic slot in the last round of the World Cup Asian qualifiers.

Forward Nguyen Tien Linh put Vietnam in front after 27 minutes, but his efforts were cancelled out by Lucrecio’s 72nd-minute penalty.

However, just 10 minutes later, Que Ngoc Hai was on target from the spot to seal a hard-fought win for Park Hang-seo’s side.

With the full three points against Malaysia, Vietnam have further cemented their grip at the top of Group G preserving their two-point advantage over hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) who crushed Indonesia 5-0 in another group match the same day.

The Golden Star Warriors will only need a draw in their last Group G clash against the UAE this June 15 to see them through to the last round of the World Cup qualifying campaign for the first time ever.

Vietnam and Malaysia headed into the survival match at Dubai’s Al-Maktoum Stadium (UAE) on the back of entirely opposing fortunes: Malaysia lost their last match 4-0 against the UAE, while Vietnam beat Indonesia 4-0 and tightened their strong position with a win.

Vietnam produced a rampant start and enjoyed the first chance of the game with Doan Van Hau blasting a shot from range that marginally missed keeper Farizal Marlias’ far post. Nguyen Hoang Duc followed up a few minutes later with a blistering strike from range, but Marlias held.

Vietnamese forward Nguyen Cong Phuong (no. 10) in action during the match. (Photo: VN+)

In the 17th minute, Van Hau showed off his brilliant vision delivering an incredible pass for Nguyen Tien Linh busting into the box, but the unmarked forward wasted such a golden chance to bring Park’s side off the mark by shooting wide in front of the empty net.

However, Tien Linh only needed 10 more minutes to redeem himself powering in an unstoppable header to open the scoring for the Golden Star Warriors.

Nguyen Tien Linh celebrates opening the scoring for Vietnam. (Photo: AFC)

After the goal, the Malayan Tigers intensified their attacks seeking to equalise the score. They almost drew level five minutes before the break when Syafiq Ahmed headed a perfectly weighted cross straight at goal, but Bui Tan Truong produced a stunning reaction save to tip it away.

Veteran midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang missed a clear-cut opportunity to double Vietnam’s advantage in the 65th minute placing a low shot off the far post after Van Duc’s delightful through ball put him in a one-on-one with goalkeeper Farizal Marlias.

The wastefulness of chances forced Park’s troops to pay seven minutes later, as Lucrecio successfully converted a resulting penalty following Van Hau’s foul on Rasid inside the box.

With nine minutes left on the clock, Brendan Gan conceded a penalty, and Vietnamese captain Que Ngoc Hai found the back of the net to take his side 2-1 in front.

Que Ngoc Hai celebrates with joy after scoring the winning goal for Park Hang-seo's side. (Photo: VN+)

The result has extended Vietnam's unbeaten run in the World Cup qualifying campaign to seven games, while sending them into their crucial match against the UAE with a two-point lead (17-15). Meanwhile, with nine points each, the World Cup dream has officially reached an end for both Thailand and Malaysia although they still have a game in hand playing each other at Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium (Dubai) this June 15.

Vietnamese players celebrate their victory against Malaysia. (Photo: AFC)

Park Hang-seo's Vietnamese side has come very close to a first-ever slot in the last round of the World Cup qualifiers.

VAN TOAN
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