Vietnam beat Iraq for Asian U23 champs’ semi-finals hinh anh 1Vietnamese players celebrate their goal during the AFC U23 Championship match against Iraq on January 20. Vietnam win 5-3 in penalty shootout (Photo VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam continued their dream journey at the Asian Football Confederation U23 Championship after beating Iraq 5-3 in the penalty shootout on January 20 in Changsu, China.

Talented goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung denied a kick from Iraqi side while all five Vietnamese players were successful with their finishes in the quarter-finals seesaw match - the only one happening in extra time and then penalties.

Earlier, in the official 90 minutes and nervous extra time, Vietnam drew 3-3 with the Asian powerhouse

The Southeast Asian team’s striker Nguyen Cong Phuong opened the score in the first half, surprising not only their rivals but also the whole continent.

Iraq, the last championship’s bronze medalist, levelled the result with a penalty by striker Ayman Hussein some minutes later.

The second half saw much efforts from both sides but none of them bagged more goals, leading the match to the extra time which saw two goals from each sides.

"It is the best match of V​ietnam in this tournament so far. They played at their best with the never-give-up spirit. We must praise all of them, the true warriors," said football expat Trinh Minh Hue in a TV commentary show.

Vietnam, the only ASEAN country in the continental tournament’s last-four round, will next play Qatar on January 23.-VNA