Vietnam lose to China in five-goal thriller
Vietnam’s Nguyen Hoang Duc (#14) in action during the match. (Photo: AFC)
NDO – Vietnam missed out on their first points in the final round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Asian Qualifiers after conceding a nail-biting 2-3 defeat against China on Matchday 3 on the early morning of October 8.
An opener by Zhang Yuning and a brace by Wu Lei handed Li Tie’s side their first victory in Group B regardless of the attempts by Nguyen Hoang Duc and Ho Tan Tai to narrow the gap for Vietnam.
The two teams headed into the match with great caution, making the first half an evenly fought contest.
China enjoyed a lion’s share of possession but it was the Vietnamese side who created more clear-cut chances.
Quang Hai threatened the Chinese side in the 22nd minute with an annoying free-kick that forced Zhang Yuning to parry it over the bar.
China managed to find the back of the net nine minutes before halftime as Zhang Yuning took Wu Lei’s pass and fired a shot past goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong. However, Zhang’s goal was denied due to offside infraction.
Vietnam came close to breaking the deadlock in the 39th minute with forward Nguyen Tien Linh skewing a powerful right-footed volley from outside the box that was smartly saved by goalie Yan Yunling.
Tien Linh produced another threat four minutes later blasting a back header from Phan Van Duc corner; however, Yan comfortably handled it to keep the stalemate unchanged going into halftime.
China made a stronger start after the interval and went ahead in the 52nd minute by converting a counterattack after keeper Tan Truong successfully parried Wu Lei’s low shot in a one-on-one but could not prevent Zhang Yuning from scoring on the rebound.
Nguyen Hoang Duc almost equalised three minutes after the hour mark, but his long-range strike was parried over the bar by Yan Yunling.
Wu Lei doubled China’s advantage by heading home a Wang Shenchao cross in the 75th minute.
Substitute Ho Tan Tai rekindled Vietnam’s hopes for points by slotting past the Chinese keeper from close range five minutes later.
It seemed as if Vietnam had successfully salvaged point against China as Tien Linh snatched a stoppage-time equaliser, but a close-range injury-time header by Wu Lei gifted Li Tie’s side their first win in the final World Cup qualifying round.
In another Group B fixture on the same day, Saudi Arabia extended their perfect start to the final qualifying campaign by defeating Japan 1-0 thanks to Al Buraikan to move up to nine points after three matchdays.
Vietnam will next travel to Oman for their fourth Group B match against the hosts on October 12.
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