|Nguyen Cong Phuong suffered a broken clavicle collar-bone injury during a match between Viet Nam and the United Arab Emirates at the Asian U23 Football Championship on January 21. — Photo cdn.ole.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam suffered another loss in the last-round Group D match of the Asian U23 Football Championship this morning, Ha Noi time, in Doha, Qatar.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Cong Phuong was hospitalised for a collar-bone injury after the match.
Viet Nam's 2-3 defeat in the match with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was their third loss in the tournament, which saw the latter jump to the top position in the group with seven points.
Viet Nam, who were previously eliminated, ended at the bottom with zero points.
The United Arab Emirates and Jordan, who are in second place and shared a goalless draw with Australia in another match, have entered the quarter-final round.
The United Arab Emirates will meet defending champions Iraq, while the Jordan will play South Korea on Saturday.
The United Arab Emirates had a miserable start with Captain Ahmed Barman being forced off with an injury just 10 minutes into the game.
Ten minutes later, there was further bad news for Coach Abdullah Misfir's side as Salim Ali, who had taken the armband from Barman, followed his team-mate after suffering an injury.
Substitute Mohamed Surour made it worse just three minutes later when he used an arm to block midfielder Pham Duc Huy's cross, and Phuong drilled the resulting penalty down the middle as goalkeeper Mohammed Busanda dived to his right.
The United Arab Emirates were then incredibly forced into a third first-half change as Saif Rashid suffered an ankle injury.
"During my career as a coach, I have not seen events like they happened in this match," Misfir was quoted as saying on the-afc.com.
"An injury at the beginning of the game that forced a substitution and goals scored in such a way, it is the first time this has happened for me. But what is most important is we got the result we were seeking," he said.
Although Viet Nam still deserved their advantage, the United Arab Emirates were handed an equaliser at the 64th mark, as defender Pham Hoang Lam headed Al Akberi's cross into his own net, despite rising unchallenged on the edge of the six-yard area.
Midfielder Nguyen Tuan Anh exchanged passes with Phuong on the edge of the penalty area, and after skipping past the challenge of Surour, beat Busanda with a deflected strike.
The United Arab Emirates again drew level as Al Akberi's attempted cross into the penalty area looped over goalkeeper Pham Van Tien and dropped into the net via a deflection off the foot of the far post.
With 12 minutes remaining, Ahmed Al Hashmi's penalty put the United Arab Emirates ahead for the first time after Luong Xuan Truong was sent off for blocking Abdalla Ghanim's goal-bound header with his hands.
Viet Nam finished the game with nine men, as Nguyen Nam Anh picked up a second yellow card in the final 10 minutes.
Further bad luck for the Vietnamese side came when Phuong suffered a serious clavicle collar-bone injury. He was immediately sent to hospital for surgery on his 21th birthday.
While the whole team returned home, Phuong will stay in Doha for more intensive care.
Dr Nguyen Trong Hien said Phuong's injury was serious and could take up to three months to heal. After that, he can do only light exercises.
The injury definitely affects his Japan plan, as he is scheduled to join J.League 2 Mito Hollyhock FC for the new season that will begin next month.
"I am disappointed with the result," Viet Nam Coach Toshiya Miura said on the-afc.com.
"Till it became 2-2, we had played very well. But after that we lost the game. We should have won, but our players do not have enough experience to handle such situations. I will not criticise the players as they played well. I hope this is a good experience for them." — VNS