RIYADH: Saudi Arabia produced a second half blitz to beat 10-man Vietnam 3-1 in their opening AFC Asian Qualifier for the 2022 World Cup on Thursday.
Vietnam took an early lead when Nguyen Quang Hai slotted home from outside the box in third minute, but Do Duy Manh’s red card in the 54th minute proved decisive as the Green Falcons got back into the game.
Saudi Arabia’s comeback started with Salem Al-Dawsari and Saleh Al-Shehri neatly converting their penalties together with Yaseer Al-Shahran’s stunning header to secure all three points at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia suffered a blow in the first half as midfielder Abdullah Otayf was stretchered off in tears to be replaced by Mohammed Kanno.
Next in the group, Saudi Arabia travel to Muscat to face Oman, who beat Japan earlier in the day, while Vietnam’s Tuesday fixture sees them welcome an Australia side who opened their campaign with a comfortable win against China.
Elsewhere, UAE and Lebanon played out a 0-0 draw at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai despite the the Emiratis dominating possession and chances throughout the 90 minutes.
UAE are seeking to qualify for the World Cup Finals for only the second time in their history, but will be disappointed with the result while Lebanon will be the happier after sealing a point in their opening game of the campaign.