Vietnam were on the verge of creating history when disaster struck. With the Southeast Asians leading 1-0 in their first ever 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Zone qualifying third round tie away at Saudi Arabia, a red card received by Do Duy Manh galvanized the hosts, who rallied the troops and overturned the deficit to win 3-1 at the end of the match.
With their league season abandoned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnamese football fans focus their attention towards their national team, who are currently embarking on their best World Cup qualifying campaign yet.
And their excitement were amplified to fever pitch levels after rising star Nguyen Quang Hai gave Vietnam the shock lead 3 minutes into their tie with Saudi Arabia at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh. Taking advantage of a botched clearance from Abdulelah Al-Amri, Hanoi FC player Quang Hai rifled in a devastating shot from distance that left Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais utterly beaten.
Abdullah Otayf’s injury in the 18th minute gave Vietnam even more hope of pulling off an upset, before both Duy Manh and veteran goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong deny any hopes of a Saudi Arabian comeback in the first half, allowing Park Hang-seo’s Golden Dragons to retain their slender lead all the way into half-time.
However, as Vietnam battled on to retain their lead, disaster struck in the 55th minute.
Duy Manh’s attempt in denying another Saudi Arabian chance saw him being adjudged to have handled the ball within the Saudis’ penalty area. After a review from the video assistant referee (VAR), Duy Manh was given his second yellow card of the game, and with it his marching orders.
Salem Al-Dawsari, who was tasked in dispatching the penalty, did his assignment excellently, beating Tan Truong with a powerful shot that pegged Vietnam back.
With the equalizer revitalizing their spirits and with the numerical advantage now fully theirs, Saudi Arabia showed why they are one of the titans of Asian football. A powerful header from Yasser Al-Shahrani in the 67th minute gave Saudi Arabia the lead, before Que Ngoc Hai fouled Al-Dawsari within the box with 10 minutes to go – prompting the referee to award Saudi Arabia with another penalty.
Saleh Al-Shehri left Tan Truong beaten for the third time with a sublime Panenka, allowing Saudi Arabia to bag all three points with the 3-1 win, much to the disappointment of the Vietnamese camp.