Tashkent: Saad Al Shehri's Saudi Arabia will settle for nothing less than the title after topping Group D of the AFC U23 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2022.
The two-time runners-up confirmed their position as group winners following a 2-0 win over United Arab Emirates on Thursday, a result which meant they finished on seven points and ahead of Japan on goal difference.
Up next for Saudi Arabia are 2018 runners-up Vietnam but Al Shehri is looking beyond the quarter-finals.
Saudi Arabia’s Yahya shifts focus to Vietnam after group stage success
Tashkent: Player of the match Ayman Yahya hailed the positive influence of head coach Saad Al Shehri and his teammates following Saudi Arabia’s 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in their AFC U23 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2022 Group D fixture on Thursday.
Second half goals from Aiman Yahya and Saud Abdulhamid at the Lokomotiv Stadium meant Saudi Arabia topped Group D ahead of Japan on goal difference.
They will play Vietnam in the quarter-finals on Sunday in what will be a meeting between the 2020 and 2018 runners-up.
Japan’s Matsuoka excited to face club teammate Oh in Korea Republic face-off
Tashkent: For Japan’s Daiki Matsuoka, there is a lot to look forward to after Japan breezed 3-0 past Tajikistan in their final AFC U23 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2022 Group D tie at the Bunyodkor Stadium on Thursday.
Goals from Kuryu Matsuki, Kein Sato, and Taika Nakashima meant Japan finished second behind Saudi Arabia in the group to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash against arch rivals Korea Republic.
For Matsuoka, that itself promises to be a surreal experience.
Hwang expects a more clinical Korea Republic in knockout stage
Tashkent: Korea Republic secured their AFC U23 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2022 quarter-final spot after edging Thailand 1-0 at the Pakhtakor Stadium on Wednesday but head coach Hwang Sun-hong believes there is plenty of room for improvement.
Go Jae-hyeon’s 35th-minute strike sealed the win for the defending champions against a resolute Thailand, who were also in the running for a knockout stage berth, and Hwang congratulated his players for achieving their target with Korea Republic topping Group C on seven points.
Hai Long eyes more playing time after helping Vietnam into quarter-finals
Tashkent: Nguyen Hai Long was trusted by head coach Gong Oh-kyun to start Vietnam’s final AFC U23 Asian Cup™ Uzbekistan 2022 Group C tie against Malaysia on Wednesday and the midfielder repaid the faith in him by producing a player of the match performance.
Although Hai Long did not get on the scoresheet, he played a pivotal role in Vietnam’s 2-0 win which saw the 2018 runners-up finishing second behind Korea Republic to advance to the quarter-finals at Thailand’s expense.
Boosted by his performance, the 21-year-old is now hoping for more playing time as Vietnam look to extend their Uzbekistan 2022 adventure, with the Group D winners their opponents in the quarter-finals.