Drulovic proud of Uzbekistan despite Olympic disappointment
Bangkok: Uzbekistan head coach Ljubinko Drulovic has declared that he is proud of his players despite seeing the Central Asians lose 1-0 to Australia on Saturday to finish fourth at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 and have their hopes of qualifying for this year’s Olympic Games dashed.
Nicholas D’Agostino’s superb 47th minute strike proved the difference on a night when Uzbekistan missed several opportunities to seal the win and their cause was hindered severely by the second-half dismissal of substitute Oybek Bozorov.
The result brought Uzbekistan’s once promising campaign to a disappointing end, and left Drulovic to reflect on what could have been for the competition’s 2018 champions.
Arnold: Taking Australia to the Olympics one of my greatest achievements
Bangkok: Graham Arnold hailed Australia’s qualification for the Tokyo Olympic Games as among the greatest achievements of his coaching career after steering his side to third place at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 with a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan on Saturday.
Nick D’Agostino’s individual goal two minutes into the second half sealed the win for the Olyroos and ended Australia’s 12-year Olympic absence, leaving Arnold delighted with the achievements of a squad that features a host of players who rarely play for their clubs.
Third Place Play-off: D'Agostino strike sends Australia to the Olympics
Bangkok: Nicholas D’Agostino’s brilliant solo effort two minutes into the second half sent Australia on their way to the Tokyo Olympic Games on Saturday as Graham Arnold’s side earned a 1-0 win over 10-man Uzbekistan in the third place play-off at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.
D’Agostino’s strike at the end of a slaloming run gave the Olyroos the lead after a tepid first half showing and Australia’s first appearance at the Olympics since 2008 was effectively confirmed when Uzbekistan's Oybek Bozorov was sent off with little over half an hour remaining.
The win means Australia qualify alongside Saudi Arabia and Korea Republic for the Tokyo Olympics, which will be played in July and August and where they will join hosts Japan in representing Asia at the 16-nation tournament.
Bangkok: The AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 final between Korea Republic and Saudi promises to be a thriller.
The final, at Bangkok's iconic Rajamangala Stadium, will be between two of the tournament's most in-form teams with Korea Republic taking a record of five wins from as many matches into the decider with Saudi Arabia having registered four triumphs and one draw.
Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at five interesting facts and figures ahead of the decider.
Preview - Final: Korea Republic came to claim the title, says captain Lee
Bangkok: Korea Republic captain Lee Sang-min has called on his side to realise their dream of winning the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 title when they face Saudi Arabia in the eagerly anticipated final on Sunday.
Having already qualified for this year’s Olympics thanks to a 2-0 win over Australia in the semi-finals, Korea Republic head into the encounter looking to register a sixth successive victory and, in the process, claim their first-ever Continental crown at this level.
Preview - Final: Relaxed Saudi Arabia now focused on lifting trophy
Bangkok: Head coach Saad Al Shehri believes Saudi Arabia’s qualification for the Olympic Games will allow the country’s players to fully express themselves when they take on Korea Republic in the final of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 on Sunday.
The Saudis defeated Uzbekistan on Wednesday to end their 24-year absence from the Olympic Games as they claimed one of the three tickets for Tokyo 2020 on offer at the AFC U23 Championship.
Saudi Arabia not satisfied with Olympic qualification, say Bukhari, Al Amri
Bangkok: Saudi Arabia are not content with just sealing a place in the Tokyo Olympics, with Amin Bukhari and Abdulelah Al Amri stressing the West Asians are determined to return home with the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 title.
Saudi Arabia beat 2018 champions Uzbekistan 1-0 in the semi-finals on Wednesday to seal a return to the Olympic Games after a 24-year absence, and play Korea Republic in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 final on Sunday.