A yellow card greenlights Vietnam into Asian Cup Round of 16

By Hoang Nguyen   January 17, 2019 | 06:15 pm PT
A yellow card greenlights Vietnam into Asian Cup Round of 16
Vietnam will play their next Asian Cup match against Jordan on Sunday. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Khoa
A difference of one yellow card made all the difference as Vietnam moved into the Asian Cup Round of 16.

Vietnam claimed the last spot in Asian Cup’s round of 16 after fans waited with bated breath for 99 minutes, waiting for the results of the match between Lebanon and North Korea, which the former won 4-1.

After the game ended, both Vietnam and Lebanon finished the group stage with three points and the same goal difference of -1 (both scored four goals and conceded five).

However, it was Vietnam who made it into the round of 16 because it had received one yellow card less than Lebanon.

In the group stage Vietnam had accumulated five yellow cards - two against Iraq, two against Iran and one against Yemen. Lebanon ended up with six – two against Qatar, three against Saudi Arabia and one against North Korea.

The difference of one card made all the difference.

If both teams had identical stats including the yellow cards, AFC would have chosen the last spot through ballots.

Fans across the country cheered as did the Vietnamese players themselves. The video below shows them dancing at their hotel in UAE following the Lebanon match.

Many fans were reminded of Japan leap-frogging over Senegal to the knockout stage at the World Cup 2018, based on having received less yellow cards.

Football website Goal felt Lebanon was unlucky to have missed out.

"Lebanon was disqualified in such an unfortunate way because of the fair-play rule despite winning 4-1 against North Korea," Goal said.

In this year’s tournament, the format has changed from 16 teams to 24 teams. The six groups (A to F) still had four teams each, with the top two from each group going through to the knockout phase. However, the four best third-ranked sides also progress, leaving 16 teams going to the next round.

This year, the other third-ranked teams to go through are Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan and Oman.

Vietnam will next face Jordan, who topped group B. The game will kick off at 6 p.m. Sunday, January 20 (Hanoi time).

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