The Red Warriors went down to a narrow defeat in front of a vociferous home crowd despite battling hard in their opening 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifier
A spirited Vietnam side went down to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi in their Group E opener for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
The 7,200 home fans thought that Huynh Quoc Anh's equalizer on the hour-mark was enough for the team to earn a deserved point, but Habib Fardan disappointed them with a late winner seven minutes later.
Ahmed Khalil had opened the scoring in the sixth minute after the Al-Abyad was awarded a penalty when Michael Nguyen brought down an opponent in the box.
Despite conceding an early goal, the host's spirits were not dampened and they ventured forward to look for the elusive equaliser.
They almost got a goal eight minutes before the break as Le Tan Tai broke down the right wing and sent in a perfect cross to the middle of the box, but Quoc Anh’s swerving volley missed the target by inches.
In the second half, the Vietnamese continued to press forward and they eventually got their reward.
Tan Tai once again sent in a precise cross from the right and this time Quoc Anh found the back of the net with a brave diving header to send the crowd wild in the 60th minute.
But the game swung back in UAE’s favour six minutes later the Vietnam defence inexplicably allowed Habib Fardan acres of space in the box for the 22-year-old midfielder to comfortably head in what proved to be the winning goal.
In the other Group E match, East Asian side Hong Kong snatched a point off Uzbekistan at the Pakhtakor Markaziy Stadium in Tashkent.
The 16,287 home fans had to be contented with a point as they saw their team frustrated by a resolute and disciplined Hong Kong side in a 0-0 draw.
The Reds, ranked 163 in the world by FIFA, played the remaining half-hour of the match with only ten men as Lo Kwan Yee was given his marching orders by referee Ali Abdulnabi.
But despite being a man down, the visitors did not sit back as they were gave the Uzbeks a hard time with their slick, counter-attacking football.
In the dying minutes of the game, 21-year-old striker Lan Hok Hei almost found the back of the net for Hong Kong, but Ignatiy Nesterov did well to clear the ball in an unorthodox manner via his extended leg to save his team from an embarrassing defeat.