SINGAPORE - The United Arab Emirates started their Asian Cup qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win over battling Vietnam Wednesday, while 10-man Hong Kong held Uzbekistan 0-0 in Tashkent.
The UAE got off the mark with an early penalty, put away by Al Ahli forward Ahmed Khalil, but Vietnam's busy efforts to get back into the game paid off on the hour-mark when Huynh Quoc Anh made it all square.
However, Habib Fardan put the visitors back in front only seven minutes later and it was to prove decisive as UAE took an early lead in Group E and deflated the home fans at Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium.
In the Uzbek capital, Hong Kong turned up with an injury-depleted squad and the outlook looked even bleaker for Kim Pan-Gon's men when midfielder Lo Kwan Yee was sent off after 58 minutes.
But the visitors held firm against against the Uzbek attack to escape the difficult fixture with a precious point.
Among Wednesday's later fixtures for the 2015 tournament in Australia, Jose Antonio Camacho's China play three-time champions Saudi Arabia, and 2007 champions Iraq host Indonesia.