Before the game
Meeting U23 Qatar, U23 Vietnam is at a great disadvantage: not enough time to rest after loosing strength in the quarter-finals, playing for the first time in Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre where Qatar played in 4 games. That is not to mention the degree of difference between the two team background. On the way to the semi-finals, U23 Vietnam won 2, drawn 1 and lost 1; scored 5 goals. Meanwhile, Qatar won 4; scored 7 goals.
However, Park Hang Seo and his team have to overcome all that, to go against the Qatar national team in the semi-final of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship.
In the game
Qatar opened the scoring six minutes before halftime, however, Nguyen Quang Hai equalized in the 69th minute after a mix-up between Bassam Al-Rawi and Ahmad Moein. But just 3 minutes after that, Almoez Ali bundled the ball over the line from close range and scored for Qatar. It is not been long till the next goal when miraculously Quang Hai fired back in the 89th minute, made it draw.
With neither side able to net in extra-time, it meant that Vietnam once again had to deal with the dreaded penalty shootout like happened in last Saturday’s quarter-final against Iraq. But Van Thanh fired home the winning spot-kick and it's celebration time! Finally, Vietnam make it through to the AFCU23 Championship 2018 final after beating Qatar 4-3 on penalties!
FT: U23 Vietnam 2-2 U23 Qatar (4-3 on pens)
Goal: Quang Hải 69' 89' - Akram Afif 39', Ali 87'
U23 Việt Nam: Bui Tien Dung, Pham Xuan Manh, Do Duy Manh (Nguyen Phong Hong Duy 61’), Tran Dinh Trong, Bui Tien Dung, Vu Van Thanh, Pham Duc Huy (Nguyen Thanh Chung 120+1’), Luong Xuan Truong, Nguyen Quang Hai, Phan Van Duc, Nguyen Cong Phuong
U23 Qatar: Mohammed Al-Bakari, Tameem Al-Muhaza, Bassam Al-Rawi, Tarek Salman, Sultan Al-Brake, Salem Al-Hajri (Abdullah Al-Ahrak 60’), Assim Madibo, Hashim Ali (Meshaal Al-Shammeri 106’), Ahmad Moein, Akram Afif, Almoez Ali.
After the game
23rd Jan will always be remembered when millions of Vietnamese fans were crying after the resounding victory of U23 Vietnam against Qatar in the semi-finals of the AFC U23 Championship China 2018 Cup. It has been a long time since the AFF Cup final in 2008 that Vietnamese football fans were in this much joy and proud watching the national football team. U23's victory was a feat, a shock to not only Vietnam but the whole area. It tells us all: The miracle is real! And it we try our best, we can make it one day!
Back in 2008 AFF Cup, thousands of fans would scream out loud when Cong Vinh scored the winning goal bringing the gold trophy for Vietnam, then bursted out into the streetcarrying fan flags, gongs and even ... pots and pans on the road celebrate. Then today we have the chance to do that again when goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung plays hero again with two successful penalty, helping U23 Vietnam won 4-3. The 3km road now need 5 hours to go through, but there is no annoyed face but just laughing and cheering; different people in the every aspects: work, in terms of status, status ..., now can gather together crying in happiness, hugging each other like brothers and sisters in a family.
The U23 Vietnam have gone so far that no one could think of before the tournament. Be assured U23 boys since you do not walk alone, tens of millions of fans will be behind your back to support anytime and anywhere . Thanks to the U23 team for their untiring training on the pitch and the explosive emotions you bring.
Now we move on Together!