Both countries had agreed to a friendly before the draw for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship took place on September 26. Vietnam and the UAE ended up in the same group, but the two teams decided to go ahead with their scheduled meeting.
Since Park Hang-seo was in Indonesia with the national team to prepare for the 2022 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, assistant Kim Han-yoon was in charge of Vietnam U22.
Two teams engaged in a slow start with many inaccurate passes being made. Vietnam's striker Ha Duc Chinh went for goal in several attempts, but his shots were mostly over the crossbar. While the UAE had their moments in the first 45 minutes, they lack decisive passes in front of goals.
After a rather sluggish first half, both sides made a few substitutions to increase the tempo of the game. The visitors soon afterwards broke the deadlock in the 50th minute, when captain Nguyen Duc Chien's clearance invitingly brought the ball to Al Zaabi, who neatly drove it into the far corner with the inside of his foot.
Vietnam were quick to respond following a nice set-up in the left wing. Midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc acted as a wall for Do Thanh Thinh’s pass, which found Duc Chinh sprinting towards the box.
Keeper Al Ameri rushed out but failed to catch the ball, allowing the striker to head the ball into the empty net in the 51st minute.
Vietnam and the UAE made great efforts to find the winner in the last 10 minutes of the match, but barely looked like scoring in most attempts. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
The UAE U22 head coach, Macciej Skorza, was pleased with the result: "Our young players showed that they wanted to devote everything on the pitch. We would like to thank Vietnam for this precious opportunity."
He said he was impressed with the Vietnamese players. "They have a well-rounded squad and a great fighting spirit."
He noticed Vietnam's football has made big improvments recently. "I hope in the upcoming U23 tournament, we will both have our strongest squads with us."
The Sunday match served as a great chance for Vietnam U22 to prepare not only for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in Thailand in January, and SEA Games 30 in the Philippines in November.
Last month, they snatched a 2-0 victory over Guus Hiddink's China in a friendly away.
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