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Absent Park confident ahead of crunch UAE match

Coach Park Hang-seo of Vietnam (centre), who is suspended for the 2022 World Cup qualifier, is still confident his team will triumph against the UAE on Tuesday. Photo:
Vietnam will have to do without head coach Park Hang-seo in the 2022 World Cup qualifying match against the host UAE on Tuesday but the South Korean is confident of a good result in his absence.

Park is suspended for the match after he was given a second yellow card in the 2-1 win over Malaysia on Friday night in Dubai's Al-Maktoum Stadium.

The 63-year-old acted aggressively when his midfielder Nguyen Phong Hong Duy was fouled by Malaysia’s Liridon Krasniqi near the end of the game.

His reaction resulted in a yellow card from Japanese referee Sato Ryuji. He was also booked in the match against Thailand on September 5, 2019.

"I have received two cards and manage the team against the UAE. My reaction is to help Vietnam reach our target of advancing to the last qualifying round. If we have good result and qualify, then my mission is complete," Park said.

"I watched the UAE in a match against Malaysia and we played them already in the first leg match. But I have to confess that I have not searched them carefully to know how different they are now.

"They are really a strong team. We are on top of the group but UAE players' physique and technique are among the best in Asia. But I still have plan which will be used to help us win this match.”

It is the second time that Park has been banned. At the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December in the Philippines, he received a red card and was sidelined for four matches after an angry exchange with referee Majed Al-Shamrani during the final between Vietnam and Indonesia when his midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang was fouled by an Indonesian player but escaped a warning.

Park's assistant Lee Young-jin will take charge of the team on Tuesday.

Vietnam with 17 points need only a draw result to make history. A loss with minimum result could also be enough as they may qualify as the best second-placed team.

Meanwhile the hosts, on 15 points, must win to take top place and qualify, otherwise they would be ousted.

After beating Malaysia, Vietnam jump one step up to 90th place in the world with total 1,271 points.

The national team will receive VND3 billion (US$130,500) bonus from the Vietnam Football Federation and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc if they win.