In a major boost to Southeast Asian footballing fortunes, Vietnam will be representing the region in the final of the AFC U23 Championship in China after edging out Qatar 4-3 on penalties to set up Sunday’s title clash with Uzbekistan, who overpowered South Korea 4-1 after extra-time.
In Tuesday evening’s semifinal, Vietnam and Qatar were deadlocked 2-2 at the Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre. Despite Vietnam falling behind twice, they managed to battle back for a draw, with the second equaliser coming just moments before the whistle.
Extra-time produced no goals, and in a tension packed shootout, Vietnam prevailed for a second time after having nosed out Iraq on penalties in the quarterfinals following a 3-3 draw. Losing semifinalists Qatar and Korea will fight for third place on Saturday.