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MD5 - Group G: Vietnam 1-0 UAE

Hanoi: Nguyen Tien Linh’s wonder strike was the difference as Vietnam defeated the UAE 1-0 at My Dinh Stadium to move top of Group E of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers on Thursday.

Thailand’s 2-1 defeat to Malaysia in the other Matchday Five fixture means Vietnam overtake the War Elephants into top spot with 10 points, while the UAE drop to third place with six points from two wins and two defeats.

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Bert van Marwijk’s UAE side travelled to Hanoi without their top scorer in the Qualifiers Ali Mabkhout, while there was a debut for his Al Jazira teammate Abdullah Ramadan.

The highlight of a cagey first half came eight minutes before the halftime break as young UAE defender Khalifa Al Hammadi was sent off for a challenge from behind on Tien Linh who was one-on-one on goalkeeper Khalid Eisa.

Park Hang-seo’s men capitalised on the situation shortly and before the halftime whistle, they had taken the lead.

Tien Linh collected the ball 30 yards away from goal, turning and firing with aplomb into the roof of the Emirati net to score what would prove to be the decisive goal.

Reeling from their numerical disadvantage, the Whites struggled to match Vietnam’s intensity and were left shyly attempting to find an equaliser until the end of 90 minutes as the Golden Dragons took all three points at the final whistle.

Vietnam host Thailand on Tuesday in a clash of the top two sides in the group, while the UAE’s next game takes place in March when they host Malaysia.

Photos: Vietnam Football Federation

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