MD5 Preview – Group G: UAE face tricky Vietnam trip
Group G of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 enters a crucial stage as Matchday Five sees the top four…
Malaysia’s hopes of staying in contention hang on the balance as they host leaders Thailand, while second-placed Vietnam welcome United Arab Emirates who sit just one point and one place behind them on the standings.
Vietnam v UAE
It is a clash of quarter-finalists v semi-finalists from the AFC Asian Cup 2019 as Vietnam host a UAE side reeling from last month’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Thailand, which left them trailing both the War Elephants and their Thursday hosts by a point in third place.
Adding to the Emiratis’ troubles, Bert van Marwijk’s side travelled to Hanoi deprived of the services of their all-time top scorer Ali Mabkhout who serves a one-match suspension for accumulation of yellow cards.
The UAE will find goals difficult to come by as Mabkhout had scored six of their eight strikes in the Qualifiers so far.
The UAE reached the third stage of the Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but their chances of replicating this success will suffer a major blow should results in this matchday go against them. A defeat coupled with a Thailand win over Malaysia will leave them four points off the pace.
Vietnam, on the other hand, have been flying high. Unbeaten in three and yet to concede on home soil, only a single goal separates Vietnam from group leaders Thailand as both have seven points to their name.
he Golden Dragon have enjoyed memorable 12 months, winning the 2018 AFF Cup and marking their return to the AFC Asian Cup after a 12-year absence with advancing to the quarter-final.
While the UAE had relied heavily on Mabkhout for goals, Vietnam’s four goals in the Qualifiers have come through four different scorers, underlining the attacking talent available to coach Park Hang-seo.