Vietnam stun Qatar in dramatic AFC U-23 Championship semifinal

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Scenes at the final whistle after Vietnam win the penalty shootout. (AFC.com)
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Fans hit the streets in Hanoi to celebrate the semifinal win. (@soccervietnam)
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There was unconfined joy in Hanoi following the win over Qatar. (@soccervietnam)
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There was a party atmosphere after Vu Van Thanh scored the winning spot-kick. (@soccervietnam)
Updated 23 January 2018
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Vietnam stun Qatar in dramatic AFC U-23 Championship semifinal

There were wild celebrations on the streets of Hanoi after Vietnam booked a place in the final of the AFC U-23 Championship with a thrilling penalty shootout win over Qatar.

Goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung was the hero for Vietnam, saving two penalties as the Southeast Asian side defeated much-fancied Qatar 4-3 on spot-kicks at the Kunshan Sports Center Stadium in China.

Tien Dung repelled efforts from Qatari duo Ahmad Moein and Sultan Al-Brake to seal the victory, one which continues Vietnam’s fairytale journey in the competition under the wily guidance of head coach Park Hang-seo, and now sets up a title showdown against either Korea Republic or Uzbekistan on Saturday.

If Tien Dung was the hero in the shootout, then Nguyen Quang Hai was the hero in normal. He scored twice to level the match, once on 69 minutes and again on 88 minutes — just 60 seconds after Qatar had gone 2-1 in front and seemingly booked their place in the final. Vietnam just refused to lie down and their indomitable spirit carried them through extra-time and then penalties.

They celebrated wildly after Vu Van Thanh rammed home the winning spot-kick while Qatar were crestfallen after bowing out at the semifinal stage for the second successive competition.

Thousands of Vietnam watched the game on a big screen at the Hang Day Stadium while thousands more poured onto the streets of Hanoic to celebrate one of the biggest days in the country's sporting history.
 


Sorry, mum and dad — Indian shooting star bans parents from foreign trips

Updated 18 August 2018
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Sorry, mum and dad — Indian shooting star bans parents from foreign trips

  • The 16-year-old has brought home World Cup and Commonwealth Games gold medals this year
  • The Asian Games promises to be the toughest field yet for her

PALEMBANG, Indonesia: Teenage shooter Manu Bhaker said she’s told her parents not to accompany her to tournaments abroad as she struggles to adapt to life as one of India’s best known sportswomen.
The 16-year-old has brought home World Cup and Commonwealth Games gold medals this year in a sudden rise to fame, and is one of the favorites at the Asian Games in Indonesia.
But she is finding that success comes at a price, with a tough training schedule and a restrictive lifestyle that means less time with friends and a one-hour daily time limit for using her mobile phone.
Bhaker said she had resorted to banning her parents from her overseas trips as she tries to carve out a slice of freedom.
“They make limits for me, like, ‘Eat that, eat this, don’t go there, do this, don’t do this, don’t use your phone, don’t do this now, go to bed,’” she tells AFP before a training session in Palembang, which is co-hosting the Asian Games along with Jakarta.
“It’s a bit too much.”
Bhaker’s day kicks off at 5am with yoga and meditation, and ends with a jog and bootcamp-style workout.
But perhaps most punishing of all, she and the other ‘juniors’ on the Indian team are only allowed one hour with their phones each day.
In spite of her age, Bhaker is competing at senior level for the 25m sports pistol and both the individual and mixed team 10m air pistol.
She is proud of her achievement but, yes, the unfairness does grates when she sees older members of her team.
“They’re seniors. They’re free. They can do anything they want,” she says wistfully of her team-mates. “They can use their phones any time.”
Bhaker swept to fame at the beginning of this year by becoming the youngest Indian to win a gold medal at the World Cup, a feat she achieved the individual 10m air pistol and the mixed team event.
She then climbed back on the podium once again at Australia’s Gold Coast in April, setting a Commonwealth Games record of 240.9 points for the 10m air pistol.
The Asian Games promises to be the toughest field yet with the world number nine taking on fourth-ranked Ji Xiaojing of China.
Life on the road takes its toll too.
Bhaker says she has spent fewer than 10 days at her home in Haryana state since February and knows her studies have suffered in spite of some tuition on the road.
She also admits she feels lonely sometimes.
“Your friends are like, ‘No, we can’t have fun with her. She’s a Commonwealth gold medallist — we must respect her,’” she says. “Your friend circle decreases.”
Her coach Jaspal Rana agrees the cycle of competitions and training camps is tough for youngsters who often crave normality.
But they need to decide what they want out of life, he says.
“People come and go. But there are few people who become real champions, real heroes — so you need to work for that.”