Vietnam defeated Timor Leste in the semifinals of the AFF U23 Youth Championship after winning 5-3 in the penalty shootout Thursday night.
In this tough semifinal, Vietnam could only register 13 players as the others got Covid-19. On the bench, there were just one goalkeeper and one defender. Since the team haven’t got much time to train after the group stage, they faced many difficulties playing Timor Leste. Throughout the game, Vietnam rarely pushed forward to avoid injury as they had a limited number of players on the bench.
However, in the 53rd minute, Vietnam still had to make a substitution after center-back Doan Anh Viet was injured after a clearance attempt and Ho Khac Luong replaced him. Vietnam only had keeper Tran Liem Dieu on the bench.
Three minutes later, Vietnam got a chance to score as winger Nguyen Trung Thanh received a through ball and ran into the box. He tried to glide the ball into the far corner but it still missed the goal.
As the game moved toward the last minutes, the stamina of Vietnam players were significantly reduced. Wingers Trung Thanh and Huynh Tien Dat lay on the ground at least three times due to muscle problems. Sometimes Vietnam had to play with 10 men while waiting for those players to return.
In the 86th minute, Vietnam had the best chance to finish off the game, but Vo Nguyen Hoang’s close-range header went over the bar.
After 90 minutes, both teams entered extra time. After seven minutes, Trung Thanh was out of stamina and he couldn’t play anymore. Coach Dinh The Nam had no other choice but to sub him out for keeper Liem Dieu, who played as a striker for the rest of extra time.
Both sides created a few chances during the extra 30 minutes but neither could convert them into the winning goal and the game entered the penalty shootout.
In the first three shots, both teams succeeded. But in the fourth shot for Timor Leste, Filipe Oliveira couldn’t beat keeper Dang Tuan Hung, which meant that Vietnam would go to the final if Nguyen Thanh Nhan can convert the next penalty. Nhan chose to shoot in the middle and sealed the victory for Vietnam.
The final between Vietnam and Thailand will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
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