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.
Vũ Văn Thanh's penalty just blew the roof off of Vietnam! Bike horns are honking and thousands of fans have hit the streets to celebrate here in Hanoi! #AFCU23 @theafcdotcom #vietfootball pic.twitter.com/dUSCwX9HYR— Vietnam football (@soccervietnam) January 23, 2018