PFDC – DOHA, In the final day of group matches, Jordan and Australia played out a scoreless stalemate while UAE and Vietnam put on an entertaining spectacle.
Jordan v Australia – Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium, Doha
Entering this game, Jordan knew that a win or tie would see them through to the last eight while the Aussies had to win.
The first half did not produce many opportunities for either side. In the 34th minute, Australian midfielder Joshua Brillante had an attempt from the outside the penalty area but it did not cause much panic for Jordanian keeper Noureddin Ateyah.
Jordan had an excellent chance in the second half to break the deadlock when Saleh Ibrahim was one on one with Australian keeper Aaron Lennox on a breakaway but shot wide.
In the final minutes, a long ball from the Aussies towards the top of the penalty area was headed by defender Cameron Burgess. The ball then went to Jamie Maclaren, whose shot beat Ateyah but bounced off the crossbar.
The Jordanians were ecstatic at the final whistle as they booked a place in the quarter-finals while the Aussies earned an early flight home.
United Arab Emirates v Vietnam – Grand Hamad Stadium, Doha
The Vietnamese side was already eliminated before today’s games began and they were ready to play the role of spoiler. For the UAE, they were in a favorable situation to advance considering a win or tie would see them through or even a loss but only if Australia failed to beat Jordan. However, the UAE were not in the mood to play with fire.
The game did not start off well for UAE as captain Ahmed Barman had to be substituted by Mohamed Surour because of an injury after only twelve minutes. Ironically, about ten minutes later, it was Surour’s handball in the penalty area that led to a penalty for Vietnam. The penalty was converted by Nguyen Cong Phuong as Vietnam took a 1-0 lead.
This was turning out to be an odd match due to the fact that the UAE used up all three of their substitutions before the interval. The man who took the armband from Barman, Salim Ali, had to be replaced by Abdulla Ali in the 21st minute because of an injury. In the 34th minute, Said Rashid suffered an ankle injury and had to be replaced by Khalfan Mubarak.
The United Arab Emirates finally found an equalizer twenty minutes into the second half when a cross from the right by Mohamed Al-Akberi was mistakenly headed in by Vietnamese midfielder Pham Hoang Lam. The cross came next to the six yard box and it was obvious that Lam would have wanted to head the ball over the goal for a corner kick but he must have messed up his footing because the ball was hardly elevated.
Three minutes later Vietnam regained the lead when a shot by Nguyen Tuan Anh at the top of the penalty area was deflected in past UAE keeper Mohamed Busanda.
Al-Akberi was causing trouble again for Vietnam as he sent in a ball from the right side of the field near the penalty area in the 74th minute. Initially, the ball may have seemed like a cross but Vietnamese keeper Pham Van Tien misjudged it and saw the ball bounce off the far post and cross the goal line to tie the game 2-2.
Four minutes later the UAE had a corner kick. The ball was not cleared to safety and fell to Abdalla Ghanim, whose attempt on goal was stopped by the hand of midfielder Luong Xuan Truong. The Saudi Arabian referee wasted no time in giving Truong a red card for an intentional hand ball in the penalty area. The ensuing penalty was scored by Ahmed Husain Al-Hashmi to give UAE an important 3-2 lead.
Vietnam kept on trying to fight back but actually finished the match with nine men when Nguyen Nam Anh received his second yellow card in the 84th minute.
The wild 3-2 win for UAE means that they finish top of Group D and actually avoid playing South Korea in the quarter-finals. For Vietnam, some would say that this was a game they could have won considering they let in two bad goals in the second half. UAE may not have been impressive at times during the match but they never gave up and they made Vietnam pay for their mistakes.
Japan v Iran – January 22
Qatar v North Korea – January 22
South Korea v Jordan – January 23
United Arab Emirates v Iraq – January 23
Image courtesy of the-afc.com