Qatar 2022 qualifiers: UAE ready for must-win game against group leaders Vietnam

Ali Mabkhout scored twice in the win over Tajikistan
Ali Mabkhout (with the ball) had been shouldering the bulk of UAE’s scoring abilities in recent years. Image Credit: UAE Twitter

Kolkata: The United Arab Emirates will hope to continue their rich vein of form when they take on Group G leaders Vietnam is the last of their second round of Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup Qualifiers in Dubai on Tuesday. The match will kick off at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai from 8.45 pm UAE.

Vietnam, who are unbeaten in their last 10 games across all competitions, are on 17 points from seven games while Bert van Marwijk’s UAE are two points adrift in a high stakes battle. The head-to-head record shows the hosts leading 4-2, with one drawn game, but the team with a better temperament is likely to prevail on Tuesday.

The United Arab Emirates continued their charge for a place in the next round of Asian qualifiers last Friday when they claimed an emphatic 5-0 victory over Indonesia. Ali Mabkhout, their most prolific scorer in international football and Fabio Lima scored in either half to hand the UAE their second successive 5-0 victory over Indonesia.

White ‘The Whites’ have picked up four straight wins across all competitions and are unbeaten in their last five games, their veteran Dutch coach will be pleased with their scoring rate – finding 18 goals and conceding just one during this phase.

Vietnam too enjoyed a nice run in the qualifiers as they head into the game with a hard-earned 2-1 win over Malaysia last Friday. Guilherme cancelled out Nguyen Tien Linh’s first-half opener but Que Ngoc Hai restored Vietnam’s lead from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute. Vietnam had lasted a defeat to Japan (1-0) in the AFC Asian Cup, back in January 2019.

Meanwhile, a day before India’s last match against Afghanistan in the Group E qualifier and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Preliminary Joint Round 2 Qualifiers at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Indian team’s head coach Igor Stimac dismissed apprehensions that India may play out for a draw.

“I need to say that I don’t know any coach or any team who would come out playing for a draw,” Stimac, a former Croatian World Cupper, said at the pre-match press conference on Monday. India are currently placed third on six points after seven matches in comparison to Afghanistan being on five points from seven games. Asian champions Qatar have already sealed the top spot with 22 points from eight games, Oman being a distant second with 15 points.