Bui Tien Dung basks in Vietnam 'miracle'
Dubai: Vietnam defender Bui Tien Dung revealed his delight at delivering the decisive spot-kick, as his side beat Jordan in a penalty shootout to advance to the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 quarter-finals to Sunday.
The dramatic shootout, which followed a spirited 1-1 draw over 120 minutes, included misses from both sides, but Tien Dung kept his composure to add the final touch to his country's first ever knockout stage win in the competition.
Remarkably, the 23-year-old's winner came exactly one year to the day he scored the conclusive penalty in Vietnam's 2018 AFC U-23 Championship quarter-final shootout win over Iraq; a key stepping stone on the way to ultimately reaching the final in China.
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"I am very pleased and happy that our team stuck together and were able to make it to the quarter-finals, he told the-AFC.com.
"The penalty I scored today brought back many memories from the goal I scored last year in Changzhou. It’s such a great feeling.
"I felt the weight of responsibility on my shoulders again and, when my penalty went in, I felt like I delivered a miracle to both our national team and the people of Vietnam."
Having fallen behind to a Baha Abdelrahman goal on the stroke of half-time, Vietnam surged back into the game in the second 45 minutes, with Nguyen Cong Phuong's superb equaliser setting the scene for the penalty drama to follow.
Goalkeeper Dang Van Lam also played a key role in the shootout, saving Ahmed Saleh's kick to give Vietnam a priceless 3-1 lead.
"Everyone knows that there is luck involved in penalties, but it’s also about confidence and today I was feeling confident," he revealed.
Vietnam's win continues a fairytale 12 months for the Southeast Asian nation, with their AFC Asian Cup success following on their run to the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship final and their victorious AFF Championship campaign, completed just prior to their departure for the UAE.
"We won the AFF Championship and then, without being able to have any rest, we had to prepare for and play in the Asian Cup," said the 25-year-old shot-stopper.
"But we have now created history for Vietnamese football, so we are so happy."
Vietnam will now face either Japan or Saudi Arabia in Thursday's quarter-final, also at Al Maktoum Stadium.
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