Bert van Marwijk insists UAE have enough firepower to seal 2022 World Cup qualification

Defeat to Vietnam at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi second setback in campaign

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Bert van Marwijk remains confident the UAE have enough opportunity to seal progression to the next stage of 2022 World Cup qualification despite his side suffering a second successive defeat.

The national team lost 1-0 to Vietnam in Hanoi on Thursday night, leaving them third in Group G at the halfway stage, four points off the summit. Only the top team are guaranteed to advance to the third and final round of qualification.

The defeat at My Dinh National Stadium came on the back of last month’s 2-1 loss in Thailand, giving the UAE six points after four matches. Thailand are second, one point better off, with Vietnam heading the standings.

However, the UAE will take heart from the fact three of their remaining four fixtures – Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam – take place at home, beginning next March. Their only away test is the March 31 tie against Indonesia.

“There are still many matches to play and we are determined to play them offensively to earn as much points as possible,” Van Marwijk said. “There are still points to earn in the coming rounds. We will fight to keep our chances of qualifying.”

The UAE did not perform particularly poorly against Vietnam, but were undoubtedly hamstrung by the straight red card given to Khalifa Al Hammadi on 37 minutes. The young defender tussled with home striker Nguyen Tien Linh as he bore down on goal, although the decision to send off Al Hammadi did appear harsh given he had teammates covering.

“The result of the match wasn’t good for us, but in football we have to always accept the result and work for the future,” Van Marwijk said. “The red card changed the direction of the match.

“We performed well and created several chances to score, but we didn’t have the final touch. We forced the opponent to take a step back on the pitch and they relied on the counter-attack.

“We know the result is disappointing, but we have to always look on the positive side, which is the excellent performance of the players. We played almost 60 minutes with 10 men against a stubborn opponent, but I praise my players.”

Asked about the red card, Van Marwijk said: “I don’t want to talk about the referee. I don’t really know what exactly happened, but I saw the video at half-time and Khalifa didn’t push the Vietnamese player - they just crashed into each other and fell down together. But unfortunately VAR isn’t there in this stage of qualification.”