Vietnam, UAE play out a goalless draw in AFC U23 opener

Friday, 2020-01-10 19:15:55
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The draw against the UAE is an acceptable result for Park Hang-seo's Vietnamese side.
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NDO – Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) settled for a 0-0 draw in their Group D opener at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship at the Buriram Stadium in Buriram, Thailand on January 10.

Despite creating a bunch of opportunities, neither side found the back of the net throughout the match.

However, with the UAE considered the strongest team in the group, the tie was an acceptable result to Park Hang-seo’s side.

Forward Nguyen Tien Linh (in red) is one of the most active players on the Vietnamese side.

Vietnam and the UAE together created a vibrant first half with a series of opportunities, but none of them were successfully converted.

After a quiet opening 10 minutes, Nguyen Hoang Duc produced the first threat of the match with a left-footed shot from outside the box that missed to the left. The UAE responded immediately with Ali Saleh shooting over the crossbar.

Nguyen Quang Hai nearly opened the scoring for Vietnam in the 19th minute with a curled free-kick from the right flank that surprised goalkeeper Al Shamsi but passed inches off the outside of the post.

The UAE were gifted a golden opportunity to take the lead three minutes later when Nguyen Thanh Chung failed to clear a cross from the right, allowing Jassim Yaqoob to run onto the loose ball, but the winger drove a shot over the bar.

A few minutes before halftime, Ali Saleh was sent through on goal after a delightful pass from Yahia Nader, but his volley missed the goal.

Saleh continued to prove himself as a dangerous detonator on the UAE side, dribbling past two men down the left flank and crossing the ball to Zayed Al Ameri who had the goal at his mercy but could not connect with ball.

Shortly into the second half, VAR rescued Vietnam from a penalty. Saleh controlled the ball past two Vietnamese defenders before being brought down by Huynh Tan Sinh on the fringes of the Vietnamese penalty box. The referee pointed to the spot, but after consulting VAR, he overturned the decision and awarded a free-kick to the UAE instead.

Saleh drove the resulting free-kick towards the top corner, forcing a smart save from goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung.

Vietnam almost found the back of the net with just five minutes to play as Quang Hai skilfully made his way through the UAE defence and chip a clever pass to teammate Tien Linh who fired from close range. However, keeper Al Shamsi stayed alert and blocked the shot to rescue a point for the UAE.

Next up for Vietnam U23s is a clash against Jordan U23s on January 13, while the UAE take on the DPR Korea on the same day.