Vietnam kicked off their AFC U-23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 Group D campaign in style, defeating Kuwait 3-1 at the Al Janoub Stadium on Wednesday. The 2018 runners-up took full advantage of Kuwait going a man down in the 31st minute to claim the three points although they too ended the tie a player down. The match began on an equal footing with Kuwait having the early chances but Salman al-Awadhi and Hussain Ashkanani both sent their efforts wide in the opening minutes.
Vietnam suffered a setback in the 12th minute when Nguyen Dinh Bac was forced to leave the field due to an injury but the Southeast Asian side were not affected and should have taken the lead three minutes later. Nguyen Van Tung was positioned perfectly to deliver the final blow, but a mix-up with Khuat Van Kang saw them getting into each other’s way as the chance slipped away. The match took another twist when Kuwait’s Ebraheem Kameel was sent off after a VAR review for a violent challenge on Khuat.
With a one-man advantage, Vietnam finally broke through when Van Tung masterfully beat the offside trap to latch onto Nguyen Van Truong’s well-timed pass before calmly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Abdulrahman Marzouq in added time.
Just before the halftime whistle, Nguyen Ngoc Thang brought down Abdulrahman Karam, leading to another VAR review. The outcome was a red card for Ngoc Thang, and Salman al-Awadhi made no mistake from the spot to level the scores.
Vietnam coach Hoang shook things up with three substitutions in the second half, a move that paid immediate dividends. Substitute Bui Vi Hao pressured goalkeeper Marzouq into a blunder, allowing the Becamex Binh Duong forward to easily tap in and regain the lead in the 47th minute.
Vietnam continued to apply pressure, leading to a scrappy exchange in the box, with Vo Hoang Minh Khoa slotting home in the 55th minute, but the goal was disallowed as Nguyen Thai Son was caught offside in the buildup. Bui continued to shine, notching another goal in the 76th minute off a precise through pass from Thai Son.

Uzbekistan ease past Malaysia
Uzbekistan secured a positive start to life in Group D with a 2-0 win over Malaysia at Khalifa International Stadium. Malaysia kept the game tight for long periods but 2018 champions Uzbekistan’s clinical finishing proved to be the difference in a tie of limited chances. Both sides had early chances with Luqman Hakim sending a volley just over the bar in the first minute before Jasurbek Jaloliddinov tested Malaysian goalkeeper Azim al-Amin with a grounder from outside the box.
Luqman was then presented with a tap-in chance on seven minutes but Saidazamat Mirsaidov produced an outstanding last-ditch block to deny the Yokohama FC forward. That was to cost Malaysia four minutes later when Jaloliddinov confidently slotted home a spot-kick which was awarded after Syahir Bashah dallied inside his own box before eventually fouling Ruslanbek Jiyanov after the Navbahor forward had nicked the ball off him.
As the half progressed, Malaysia pulled their defensive line lower, allowing Uzbekistan more possession but were able to protect Azim better with only Jiyanov’s long distance strike in the 32nd minute needing a save.
The second half was a more cagey affair even though the pattern of the game remained unchanged with Uzbekistan continuing to probe without success.
Malaysia had a half-chance in the 73rd minute after substitute Daryl Sham was released down the right wing, with his cross requiring Uzbekistan custodian Abduvakhid Nematov to drop back to collect the ball. Ulugbek Khoshimov settled the contest 10 minutes later after Khusain Norchaev pounced on a loose ball to set up the former for the finish, with Uzbekistan to face Kuwait next on Saturday while Malaysia will play Vietnam.