Qualifiers Final Round Group D: Afghanistan 1-2 India
Kolkata: Sahal Samad’s stoppage time strike saw India secure a dramatic 2-1 win over Afghanistan in Group D of the AFC Asian Cup 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round on Saturday as Igor Stimac’s side moved a step closer to qualification for the Finals.
Samad hit the winner after Sunil Chhetri’s 86th minute free-kick had been cancelled out by a Zubayr Amiri header two minutes later in a frantic finish at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium and India are now level at the top of Group D with Hong Kong with one game remaining.
Both teams have six points ahead of their meeting on Tuesday while Afghanistan now have no chance of progressing to the Finals after losing both of their opening games in the competition.
Qualifiers Final Round Group D: Cambodia 0-3 Hong Kong
Kolkata: Hong Kong moved to the verge of qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup Finals for the first time since 1968 on Saturday when two goals in two first half minutes sent Jorn Andersen’s side on their way to a 3-0 win over Cambodia at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium.
Matt Orr and Sun Ming-him were on target in the 19th and 21st minutes with Philip Chan Siu-kwan adding a third in the 63rd minute and a win or draw against India on Tuesday would seal Hong Kong’s spot in the draw for next year’s tournament, although they could also qualify if they lose depending on the results in the other five qualifying groups.
Only the six group winners are guaranteed to advance to the finals, where they will be joined by the five runners-up with the best records at the end of qualifying.
Qualifiers Final Round Group B: Mongolia 0-1 Philippines
Ulaanbaatar: A dramatic 93rd minute winner from debutant Gerrit Holtmann kept the qualification hopes of Philippines alive as they secured a vital 1-0 win over Mongolia in their AFC Asian Cup 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round clash in Ulaanbaatar.
Whilst the loss formally eliminates Mongolia, Philippines now head into their final Group B match against Palestine in a strong position to reach their second AFC Asian Cup.
The hosts goalkeeper Munkh-Erdene Enkhtaivan was impressive throughout and after having saved a 77th minute penalty from Patrick Reichelt it looked as though he had earned the hosts a share of the spoils, only for Holtmann to pop up with the late winner.
Qualifiers Final Round Group B: Yemen 0-5 Palestine
Ulaanbaatar: Palestine are on the cusp of a third straight qualification after they comprehensively defeated Yemen 5-0 in their AFC Asian Cup 2023™️ Qualifiers Final Round clash at MFF Stadium on Saturday.
Oday Dabbagh got things underway as he scored for a second successive match to put Palestine ahead in the 14th minute, with a superb free-kick from Mohammed Rashid doubling the lead in first half stoppage time.
A rampant Palestine extended the lead two minutes after the restart with Mohammed Yamin steering home a third before substitute Saleh Chihadeh, who only arrived in the 54th minute, grabbed a quickfire brace with goals in the 58th and 64th minutes.
Palestine now sit atop the Group B standings with a perfect two wins from as many matches and a point in their final clash with Philippines on Tuesday will ensure qualification.
Qualifiers Final Round Group C: Sri Lanka 0-2 Thailand
Namangan: Thailand secured their second consecutive victory in Group C of the AFC Asian Cup 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round with a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka at the Markaziy Stadium on Saturday.
Thitipan Puangchan put Thailand ahead in the first half with Worachit Kanitsribampen sealing the points with his goal in stoppage time as Thailand set themselves up nicely for the showdown with hosts Uzbekistan on Tuesday.
Only the six group winners are assured of a place in the Finals, with the five best second placed sides to also advance to the 24-team Finals.
Qualifiers Final Round Group E: Malaysia 1-2 Bahrain
Kuala Lumpur: Bahrain waited till the end to take all three points in a 2-1 win against Malaysia to top Group E of the AFC Asian Cup 2023™ Qualifiers Final Round.
In an end-to-end encounter under rainfall at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, both sides played out an exciting 90 minutes but the score remained tied until late in the game, with Helio Sousa’s and Kim Pan-gon’s men sparring diligently till the very end with the West Asian side coming from behind to seal a win which puts them one point away from qualifying for the Finals.
Qualifiers Final Round Group F: Singapore 0-1 Tajikistan
Bishkek: Tajikistan moved to within touching distance of a first ever AFC Asian Cup™ Finals appearance, defeating Singapore 1-0 to entrench themselves at the top of Final Qualifiers Group F on Saturday.
Shervoni Mabatshoev’s inventive goal early in the second half ultimately decided the match, taking the Central Asians to a perfect six points from two matches, and keeping them well on track to qualify as either group winners or one the five best runners-up.
The result came as a crushing blow to Singapore’s qualification hopes, with Takayuki Nishigaya’s charges now needing an improbable series of results to fall in their favour to remain in contention after they again failed to make the most of their chances in the final third.