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Winning start for UAE

Hisham Al Gizouli / 7 February 2013

UAE football national team maintained their winning streak with a crucial 2-1 away victory over Vietnam in the opener of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers at the My Minh Stadium in Hanoi on Wednesday.

UAE led 1-0 at half-time.

Ahmed Khalil broke the deadlock in the sixth minute of first half from the spot. Ali Mabkhout was brought down by Vietnamese midfielder Nichal and the Australian referee Strebere delvski awarded UAE a correct penalty kick, which was brilliantly converted by Khalil.

UAE’s Habib Al Fardan leads an attack against Vietnam. — AFP

The UAE lads were in command after the early advantage and towards the 18th minute Ali Mabkhout controlled a long overhead from Abdul Aziz Sanqoor, but the Al Jazira striker was only unlucky to see his shot courageously saved by the Vietnamese keeper Nguyen.

Mabkhout came again with a lovely move at the half-hour mark and sent a beautiful shot from the mouth of the box which hit the crossbar and returned to the centre of the field.

At this stage, the hosts tried to fight back and Tai led a fast attack from the right flank and crossed to Van Quyet, who was perfectly poised ahead of the box, but his first time effort went wide.

Van Quyet came very close to level the score in the 44th minute, when the talented forward tackled at least two of the UAE defenders and sent a strong left footer, but it was brilliantly saved by Khusaif into a corner.

Vietnam started the second half with a clear offensive strategy and made every move to return to the game without much success.

The first attempt was made by Van Quyet, but his shot was once again blocked by Ali Khusaif. The UAE lads retaliated with a beautiful run from Ali Mabkhout who tackled the keeper to see his effort hitting the right pole with a poor rebound from Khalil to strike.

UAE head coach Mahdi Ali interfered by pulling out Omer Abdul Rahman and sent in Ismail Al Hammadi.

The Vietnamese reaction paid off one minute before the hour mark when Quoc Anh’s shot hardly crossed the goalline to make it 1-1.  Ali made his second substitution by replacing Abdul Aziz Sanqoor with Waleed Abbas to stop the Vietnamese right winger and at the same time give a helpful assistance to the midfield which began to lose ground and retreat in front of the aggressive attacks of the hosts.

Less than two minutes later, Habib Fardan slotted in the second goal with a lovely header to put UAE in the lead again in the 65th minute.

However, the Vietnamese didn’t surrender and continued to attack their opponents. Ali Khusaif have saved some of the dangerous shots and bad luck has also contributed to the final result.

Meanwhile, a hat trick by Javad Nekounam helped Iran rout 10-man Lebanon 5-0. Kuwait easily beat another Southeast Asian minnow, dismantling lackluster Thailand 3-1 in a Group B match. However, Uzbekistan was held to a surprising 0-0 at home by Hong Kong in Group E.


Group B

Iran 5 Lebanon 0

Thailand 1 Kuwait 3

Group E

Uzbekistan 0 Hong Kong 0

Vietnam 1 UAE 2

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