The UAE had the upper hand over Vietnam in the first half but still failed to open the scoreboard.
In early moments of the second half, the video assistant referee (VAR) technology was needed to check for a penalty as Ali Saleh of the UAE was tackled by Huynh Tan Sinh at the edge of the box.
The referee had pointed to the spot, but the VAR check only led to a free kick, which Ali Saleh created trouble for Vietnam but goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung punched the powerful strike out.
At the 86th minute, Vietnamese captain Nguyen Quang Hai got into the box but his shot was blocked, while Nguyen Tien Linh’s follow-up hit straight at the UAE’s goalie.
Vietnam were runners-up of the continental football tourney two years ago. This time, they are pooled with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Jordan and the UAE in the group stage.
They are scheduled to play Jordan on January 13 and the DPRK three days later.