Miracle as Vietnam march on to Asian U23 Championship final

‘Giant-killer’ Vietnam sent Qatar, another Asian powerhouse, home earlier than expected after winning 4-3 in a thrilling semi-final shootout following a 2-2 draw in official time and extra time.Earlier in the quarter-finals, the Southeast Asian side beat powerful Iraq 5-3 in penalties, in which Dung saved one. The unexpected win marks the best ever result for Vietnam, who has never before passed the group round in this tournament.Korean coach Park Hang-seo’s men managed to conjure a win against Qatar, despite falling behind twice in the match.It was the Qataris who opened the scoring in the 39th minute when they were given a penalty by Singaporean referee Muhammad Taqi after Qatari striker Almoez Ali was dragged down in the box.Akram Afif made no mistake scoring the opener.Vietnam, known for their indefatigable spirit, recovered soon after the interval.Nguyen Quang Hai first threatened the West Asian side with a free-kick that hit the bar.Shortly after, following Qatar’s inability to clear substitute Nguyen Phong Hong Duy’s cross, Hai netted the ball home from close-range to claim an equaliser in the 69th minute.Qatar then looked to take the win with six minutes remaining, when Almoez Ali bundled the ball over the line from close range after the Vietnamese failed a clearance.Miraculously, Hai soon fired another shot into the net to bring the two sides level in the 89th minute. Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, he curled a superb shot past goalie Mohammed Al Bakari to signal the need for extra time.In the 30 minutes of… [Read full story]

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