31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Feb 25, 2022 / 07:30

Vietnam advance to AFF U23 Championship in tiebreaks against Timor Leste

Vietnam got compliments for their spirit as performing with injuries and having no players for substitution.

Vietnam defeated Timor Leste in the semifinals of the AFF (ASEAN) U23 Championship 2022 to make the final after the match full of onslaughts from the Vietnamese men.  

Vietnam beat Timor Leste in the semifinals of the AFF U23 Championship. Photo: Hoang Tung 

Being excruciating for 120 minutes, Vietnam made the 5-3 win in the Penalty Shootout, obviously holding their nerves till the last minute.

In the regulation time, Vietnam get different opportunities but could not convert them into goals until in tiebreakers. Vietnam netted all five spot-kicks while John Oliver’s attempt was saved by goalkeeper Dang Tuan Hung in the fourth kick.

“This made the difference between the two sides after an intense battle on the pitch,” Goal reported.

In the post-match speech, Timor Leste’s Brazilian coach Fabio Maciel said “It’s not an easy match. We tried our best, but Vietnam is really hard to play. Their players have a higher level than my men.”

Timor Leste had three days off and their force is almost intact since the beginning of the tournament. In contrast, Vietnam has only 13 players left to register for the semi-finals.

“Vietnam lost too many players [due to Covid-19]. It is not easy to play 120 minutes with only 13 such players. But they made it not easy for us. Congratulations Vietnam. And as a coach, I apologize to the fans of Timor Leste,” Fabio Maciel added.

Vietnam was depleted when entering the semi-finals with Timor Leste. The team had only 13 players to register and one day off. Notably, four players traveled by road to reach Phnom Penh just some hours before the match.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Vietnam’s coach Dinh The Nam said he directed the whole team to play offensively for 120 minutes to save strength.

Vietnam pressed the pitch, pushing Timor Leste to defend. They had a sharp attack in the 95th minute, but goalkeeper Dang Tuan Hung came out very quickly, blocking Paulo Gali’s shot in the face.

Vietnam had two substitutes in the semi-final against Timor Leste. As Nguyen Trung Thanh got injuries, coach Dinh The Nam had to throw goalkeeper Tran Liem Dieu into the striker, which has never happened in the history of Vietnamese football.

“I would like to congratulate the players, both those who have competed and those who are positive for Covid-19 and isolated at the hotel,” the coach said proudly.

Vietnam had to face Timor Leste’s fierce performance with various fouls. The excruciating match has triggered both pride and respect for the Golden Star Warriors among Vietnamese supporters. Commentator Hoang Hai said the team won for their “Vietnamese spirit” and “Its extraordinary will brings the team to the victory.”

 A Vietnamese player outplays Timor Leste for most of the match. Photo: Goal

The match also got compliments from regional fans. “Vietnam is unbelievable. You deserve the champions 2022,” Cambodian Pha Eleven wrote on AFF Fanpage. Nazrul Fc from Malaysia “Congratulations Vietnam advancing to the finals. Your spirit is the best when having only 13 players.” Sakura Seungmo of Myanmar exclaimed “Congratulations Vietnam, you are well-deserved to be in the final. I really admire your fighting spirit.”

Shortly after the match, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh congratulated the team for overcoming difficulties, especially Covid-19 to advance to the final.

This victory demonstrated the Vietnamese spirit, energy, resilience, and determination to overcome difficulties and never give up, he said.

Timor Leste will compete for the third-place playoff with Laos at 4:00pm on February 26. Three and a half hours later, Vietnam will play the final with Thailand the team that Vietnam beat 1-0 in the group stage. 

 Vietnam's Nguyen Trung Thanh who scored the only goal in the match versus Thailand in group stage get injuries in the match against Timor Leste. Photo: VFF
 The final result is called the win of the Vietnamese spirit. Photo: VFF