Under 23s reach final after penalty shoot-out victory

Vietnam’s U23s reached the final of the AFF Championships on Thursday, but only after a nervy semi against Timor Leste.
Under 23s reach final after penalty shoot-out victory ảnh 1 The joy of U23 Vietnam players with their victory in the semi-final of AFF U23 Championship. (Photo: SGGP)
After 90 minutes and extra time, the tie was deadlocked at 0-0, and a penalty shoot-out was needed to determine the winner.

Goalkeeper Dang Tuan Hung stepped up to the plate, and saved the decisive penalty to send the young golden star warriors into the final.

Vietnam will face Thailand in the final on Saturday, after the Thais beat Laos by two goals to nil.

Vietnam's Young Warriors applied pressure right from the get-go, hoping for an early goal. Chances came for Vu Dinh Hai, Tran Bao Toan and Vo Nguyen Hoang, but their shots failed to trouble the Timor goalkeeper.

Vietnam were again solid in defense and there were no dangerous chances for Fabio Magrao's men in the goalless first half.
Under 23s reach final after penalty shoot-out victory ảnh 2 U23 Vietnam beats U23 Timor Leste in a penalty shoot-out. (Photo: SGGP)
Early on in the second half, Vietnam's captain Doan Anh Viet went down with an injury and had to be replaced, leaving Coach Nam with only one substitute in the last twenty minutes of the game, a goalkeeper.

Vietnam piled on the pressure but could not find the early goal they craved. Timor also had a clear chance in the 62nd minute when Paulo Gali was put through on goal, but Dang Tuan Hung was able to save the 17-year-old's shot.
Under 23s reach final after penalty shoot-out victory ảnh 3 U23 Vietnam enters the final of AFF U23 Championship after penalty shoot-out victory against U23 Timor Leste. (Photo: SGGP)
In the final minutes, Vietnam pushed forward and Nguyen Hoang had two great chances, but the Pho Hien striker could not convert and the match went in to extra time.  On 98 minutes, one of football's strangest occurrences happened as substitute goalkeeper Tran Liem Dieu came on as an outfield player to replace forward Trung Thanh who went down injured. Dieu, however, was not able to make a great impact and the match had to be decided on penalties. In the penalty shoot-out, all five Vietnamese players kept their nerve and scored, while third-choice goalkeeper Tuan Hung made a crucial save to put Vietnam through to their first ever AFF Under-23s Championship final, where they will once again face local rivals Thailand. "My teammates and I had nothing to lose today," said hero keeper Tuan Hung after the match. "That was our mentality in the shoot-out. I would like to thank all of the supporters who have inspired us to give our all."

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