Doha, 25 January 2024 - Aymen Hussein came off the bench to score twice as Iraq defeated Vietnam 3-2 in Group D of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™.
The win meant Iraq topped the group with nine points with Vietnam bidding farewell to the tournament after three consecutive defeats. Japan took second place after a 3-1 win over Indonesia.
With a spot in the knockout stage already booked, Iraq head coach Jesus Casas fielded an entirely changed starting lineup, with the exception of defender Rebin Solaka.
Vietnam thought they had secured the lead in the 17th minute when Iraqi defender Zaid Tahseen's attempt to clear Vo Minh Trong's cross inadvertently resulted in the ball going into his own net but an intervention from VAR saw the scoreline being restored to 0-0.
However, the Golden Star Warriors broke the deadlock in the 40th minute when an unmarked Bui Hoang Viet Anh sent a perfect volley into the middle of the Iraqi net, from striker Khuat Van Khang’s free-kick.
Vietnam, however, suffered a setback just before the half time whistle when Khuat Van Khang collected a second caution.
Determined to take advantage of the situation, Iraq began the second half with forwards Ali Jasim and Aymen Hussein replacing Bashar Rasan and Ahmed Abas respectively.
The 2007 AFC Asian Cup champions were rewarded almost instantly as Jasim wasted no time in helping the Lions of Mesopotamia back into the game when his corner kick two minutes into the second half was headed into the Vietnamese goal by Solaka, earning the defender his first international goal.
Rejuvenated by the equaliser, Iraq continued to apply pressure and got their second in the 72nd minute when Husein received a beautiful cross from Jasim and made no mistake in heading the ball past Vietnamese goalkeeper Filip Nguyen for his fourth goal of the campaign.
With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Iraq had another golden opportunity to further their lead when Bui Hoang Viet Anh’s tackle gifted the West Asians a penalty but the talismanic Hussein saw his spot-kick being denied by the woodwork.
However, Vietnam restored parity through substitute Ngyuen Quang Hai in the first minute of stoppage time but a last minute penalty conceded by Vo Minh Trong saw Hussein score Iraq’s winner.