Vietnam’s football continues the miracle by reaching semifinals of U-23 Asian Cup

Vietnam’s national U-23 football team qualified for the semifinals of the AFC U-23 Championship following a historic victory over Iraq on Saturday. Against the competition’s former champion, the Vietnamese team was considered the underdog but surprisingly took the lead with an early goal. Iraq equalized with a successful penalty kick later in the first half, and a goalless second half brought the two teams to extra time, which saw each team score twice. Vietnam finally emerged victorious in the penalty shootout after successfully converting all five shots, while one penalty shot from the Iraqi team was blocked by the Vietnamese goalkeeper. In the remaining quarterfinal matches, Qatar beat Palestine 3-2 while Uzbekistan achieved a 4-0 victory over the reigning champion Japan and South Korea eliminated Malaysia after a 2-1 win. Vietnam will play against Qatar while Uzbekistan will face South Korea in the semifinals next Tuesday. This is the first time a Southeast Asian team has reached the semifinals in the history of the competition. Earlier, Vietnam also became the first Southeast Asian team to achieve a group stage victory by defeating Australia, and one of the first teams from the region to reach the quarterfinals together with Malaysia. “We deserve the victory today,” Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo said after the match, stressing that it was not just pure luck that the team has managed to go far in the competition. “I and the players would like to thank all the fans for supporting us throughout the journey,” Park… [Read full story]

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