|Vietnamese footballers thanked fans who turned up at the Zayed Sports City Stadium after the match (Photo: VNA)
The website wrote a brave display by Vietnam in their Group D opener of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 ultimately went unrewarded as Iraq came from behind twice to claim a 3-2 win.
Though Vietnam had done enough to claim a creditable point but their hearts were to be shattered in the final minute.
Fox Sport Asia commented that Iraq, the 2007 champions, struggled to come from behind twice and secure a late win against a determined Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the UAE’s Gulfnews wrote an article titled “Vietnam make Iraq sweat for win”. The “Lions of Mesopotamia” rallied from a goal down twice to escape the clutches of the “Golden Dragons” before registering a hard fought 3-2 win. At half-time, Vietnam led 2-1.
In the first half, Iraq was clearly struggling to match the guile of their counterparts who had some quality players with tremendous pace and agility marshalling the midfield. Vietnam were also extremely effective on the counters and kept troubling the Iraq defence every time they had the ball.
Iraq started to use the long ball in the second half to their advantage to create openings in the Vietnam defence and the scores were level in the 60th minute, the newspaper noted.
The National newspaper of the UAE commented that few would have expected Iraq to win given that less than half an hour into the absorbing contest the Vietnamese took the lead courtesy of an own goal.
The Vietnamese were superb in the first half but came up short at the business end of the game, it added.
The DW News of Germany described the match as a football treat for the neutral in Group D as a topsy-turvy game produced no less than five goals, end-to-end action, and a dramatic last-minute winner, while French news agency AFP said Ali Adnan’s free kick breaks the heart of millions of Vietnamese fans.
Vietnam are world No 100, 12 steps lower than Iraq. This was the second time the Vietnamese team have played in the tournament compared to eight for the Iraqis.
Vietnam are pooled with Iran, Iraq and Yemen in Group D of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
After playing Iraq, the team will face Asian heavyweights Iran on January 12 before wrapping up their group stage journey with a match against Yemen on January 16.