Asian Qualifiers – Group G Preview: Vietnam return to action against Indonesia, UAE locks horns …

Dubai: A heated matchday in Group G of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 awaits as Vietnam, the UAE and Thailand all go into their Monday games with a chance of being top of the group by end of the night.

Despite not featuring in the previous matchday, Vietnam remain top of the group and will look to extend their lead as they face bottom-placed Indonesia at Al Maktoum Stadium.

Tied on nine points each, group hosts the UAE face Thailand as both sides look to close the gap on Vietnam or even topple them off the top of the group should the latter lose.


Nearly 19 months since their most recent game in the Asian Qualifiers, Vietnam return to action on Monday with their status as group leaders still intact, albeit with a narrower margin following the results of the previous matchday.

The clash against Indonesia takes place at a happy stomping ground for the Vietnamese, with their fans savouring sweet memories from two years earlier at Al Maktoum Stadium where Vietnam defeated Jordan in a penalty shootout to reach the 2019 AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals, their first on foreign soil.

Indonesia, in turn, have ended a run of five consecutive defeats with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Thailand on Thursday. Coach Shin Tae-yong’s men went behind twice but goals from Adek Agung and Evan Dimas brought them level each time to earn them their first point of the campaign.

Although FIFA World Cup qualification hopes have long evaporated and chances of advancing to the next phase of AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers remain slender, Indonesia will hope to build some momentum with an upset against the group leaders when they return to Al Maktoum Stadium for the second time in four days.

Vietnam v Indonesia
Venue: Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
Kick-off: Monday, 20:45 hours (UTC+4)

UAE v Thailand

After contrasting restarts to their respective qualifying campaigns, UAE and Thailand find themselves level on points going into their return fixture. A 4-0 win over Malaysia on Thursday helped the UAE into a superior goal difference as Thailand were held to a 2-2 draw by Indonesia.

With Vietnam just two points ahead and having played one more game, Thailand will be eager to repeat their 2-1 win in the reverse leg in October 2019. Back then it was veteran striker Teerasil Dangda, missing from the current squad through injury, who opened the scoring for the War Elephants. Ali Mabkhout equalised at the stroke of halftime but Ekanit Panya won it for Thailand six minutes into the second period.

Under head coach Akira Nishino, Thailand have not had the best of times recently, failing to win any of their three matches since that UAE victory. A 2-1 reversal against neighbours Malaysia was followed by back-to-back draws against Vietnam and Indonesia.

Scorer in the first game, Mabkhout continues to impress for the UAE, his brace against Malaysia sending him top of the Asian Qualifiers scoring charts with eight, level with Japan duo Takumi Minamino and Yuya Osako, but also making him the second-highest scoring active footballer in international football with 73 goals, behind only Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and ahead of Argentina’s Lionel Messi and India’s Sunil Chhetri.

UAE v Thailand
Venue: Zabeel Stadium, Dubai
Kick-off: Monday, 20:45 hours (UTC+4)

*Polls end at 23:00 (UTC+8) on June 7.


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