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It's Official: Vietnam Beats Qatar, Advances to Final of AFC U-23 Cup


Just mere hours ago, Vietnam’s national U-23 football team pulled off the impossible, beating Qatar to face either South Korea or Uzbekistan in the final. The semi-final match was part of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship hosted in China.

Late last week, the national team made region-wide headlines by knocking out Iraq after an intense bout of penalty shootouts. The result was the best any Southeast Asian team has performed in the history of the pan-Asian tournament. Now, Vietnamese athletes have once again rewritten history with the recent victory against Qatar.

Before today’s faceoff, many predicted that the Middle-Eastern nation would move on to the next round because its team is more experienced and its players have better physiques than Vietnam’s. The forecast appeared to be true during the first half: after 38 minutes, Qatar took the lead when Akram Hassan Afif successfully made a penalty shot.

The match heated up in the second half and ended with a 2-2 tie even after 30 minutes of extra time. Ali Abdulla scored another goal for Qatar while Vietnam’s Nguyen Quang Hai managed to balance the sheet with two goals in the 69th and last minute.

Qatar and Vietnam ended up having to settle the match with a round of penalty shootouts. This was where Vietnam’s goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung shone: Dung managed to block two penalty kicks while his Qatari counterpart Mohammed Al Bakari could only block one. Vu Van Thanh eventually delivered the game-winning kick that would bring Vietnam to the final.

The second semi-final between South Korea and Uzbekistan is happening at the moment. Whoever wins will face Vietnam in the final match later this week at 3pm (Vietnam time) on Saturday.

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