Oman had lost two games in succession after a famous opener win over Japan last month, while Vietnam were yet to get off the mark, losing all three of their games, most recently 2-3 against China.
Vietnam took the lead on the first-half courtesy of striker Nguyen Tien Linh’s goal before an equalizer from Issam Al Sabhi, a strike from Mohsin Al Khaldi, and a penalty from Salah Al Yahyaei swung the game in Oman’s favor.
The home side started brightly and were rewarded for their early attacking endeavors with a penalty after 14 minutes, as defender Ho Tan Tai unnecessarily brought down Ali Al Busaidi in the box.
Mohsin stepped up to take the spot-kick but his shot sailed high over the bar to the disappointment of the large crowd at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.
Next, Vietnamese goalkeeper Nguyen Van Toan failed to grab hold of the ball properly from a strike in the box by Jameel Al Yahmadi and created an obvious chance for Mohsin, who, however, shot the ball high over the crossbar of the empty net again.
Oman threatened to break the deadlock in the 28th minute with Issam firing a low shot in a favorable position, but Nguyen Phong Hong Duy stretched his leg to rescue the Vietnamese side.
The Golden Stars gradually found their rhythm after the early scares.
Ho Tan Tai dispossessed an Omani defender deep inside the latter’s half before firing an effort that was parried by goalkeeper Fayez Al Rushaidi but only as far as Nguyen Tien Linh who was left with the simplest task to bury home Vietnam’s opener in the 39th minute.
The visitors’ joy lasted just seven minutes as Issam Al Sabhi scored a spectacular bicycle kick into the back of the net to bring Oman level in added time of the first half.
|Vietnamese striker Nguyen Tien Linh (22) drives past an Omani player during their 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifier in Muscat, Oman, October 12, 2021. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation|
Vietnam’s ambition for their first win in the last qualifying round took a knock shortly after the break as Oman added a second goal with Mohsin curling straight from the corner kick into the top of the net, leaving goalie Toan rooted to the spot.
The Reds were denied a third in the 57th minute due to offside infraction, but successfully cemented their victory just seven minutes later as Salah converted a penalty gifted by Do Duy Manh, who apprehended Jamal Al Yahmadi inside the penalty area.
Goalie Toan rescued Vietnam from further lagging behind by saving Issam’s one-on-one effort nine minutes from the hour mark.
The Golden Stars came very close to bridging the deficit in the last official minute of play as Nguyen Cong Phuong’s decisive long-range rocket unexpectedly hit the post.
The defeat did not only extend Vietnam’s losing run in the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers to four games but also saw them remain bottom of Group B and still in pursuit of their first point.
Meanwhile, Oman overtook Japan in third place, with both sides having picked up six points, but the Omanis holding the goal advantage.
On the same matchday, Australia missed the chance to solidify their Group B top spot after losing 1-2 to Japan, while Saudi Arabia defeated China 3-2.
Vietnam will next return home to host Japan on November 11.
The other group in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Group A, consists of Iran, South Korea, the UAE, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for next year’s tournament while the third-place teams will play for a spot via an inter-continental play-off.
This is the first time Vietnam have made it this far in the World Cup qualifiers.