Bangkok: Australia moved one step closer to claiming the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 crown and qualifying for this year’s Olympic Games on Saturday as a 1-0 extra-time win over Syria at Rajamangala Stadium saw them advance to the semi-finals.
Substitute Al Hassan Toure’s goal in the 101st minute of a closely-fought encounter helped guarantee Australia’s progress – and the nation’s best-ever finish at the tournament – on a night when the Olyroos were forced to overcome stiff resistance to ensure their ticket through to the next round.
While the result brought heartbreak for the valiant Syrians, it leaves Graham Arnold’s charges now facing a last four encounter with either Korea Republic or Jordan – the winners of which will be guaranteed a place at Tokyo 2020.
Q-finals: Saudi Arabia edge Thailand to seal semis spot
Bangkok: Abdullah Al Hamdan’s penalty 12 minutes from time took Saudi Arabia into the semi-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 as Saad Al Shehri’s side claimed a narrow 1-0 win over Thailand at Thammasat Stadium on Saturday.
Al Hamdan struck decisively from the spot after he had been pulled back on his way into the area, with referee Ahmed Al Kaf awarding the penalty after confirmation of the offence by the Video Assistant Referee.
The goal was a cruel blow for Akira Nishino’s team, who had matched the Saudis throughout the preceding 78 minutes in front of a sell-out crowd as both teams battled to keep their hopes of both the title and a trip to the Olympic Games alive.
Bangkok: Kim Hak-bum will look to push memories of Korea Republic’s stellar history at under 23 level to one side to focus on the task at hand against Jordan in the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 on Sunday.
The Koreans won the gold medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018 – with Kim at the helm – and have also qualified for every edition of the Olympic Games since 1988 when Seoul hosted the event as the country continues to amass a remarkable record at this level.
And while victory over Jordan would see them move one step closer to a place at Tokyo 2020 and a first-ever AFC U23 Championship title, the veteran coach stressed his country’s previous performances would count for nothing once the two teams are out on the pitch.
Bangkok: Uzbekistan head coach Ljubinko Drulovic will look to put his knowledge of the United Arab Emirates to good use on Sunday as he leads his side into their clash against the West Asian nation in the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.
Drulovic’s team slipped to a defeat against Maciej Skorza’s side in a friendly in November and the Serbian coach is hoping for a better result at Rajamangala Stadium as he looks to keep Uzbekistan’s dreams of defending the title and earning a berth at the Tokyo Olympic Games alive.
Thailand 2020 fan zones a major hit with fans and sponsors
Bangkok: With the AFC U23 Thailand Championship nearing its thrilling knockout stages, the exciting build-up has been underlined both on and off the pitch with thousands of fans participating in a wide range of exciting activations.
Finding their way into the hearts of thousands of supporters in Thailand are the competition’s two fan zones at the Rajamangala Stadium and Thammasat Stadium in the country’s capital of Bangkok, which has been designed to unleash the passion for football and to celebrate Asia’s stars of tomorrow.
Thailand 2020 - Vote for your Goal of the Group Stage
Bangkok: With the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 moving into the crucial knockout stage, we reflect on some of the best goals from the group stage and ask you the fans to select your favourite.
Long-range screamers, stunning free-kicks and superb team moves, the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 group stage saw goals from all angles and distances to delight lovers of Asian football across the Continent.
Bangkok: As the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 enters the knockout stage, the eight remaining teams will be targeting not just Continental glory but also the three tickets available to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Having survived a tough group campaign, the teams will be aiming to move one step closer to realising their dream of lifting the trophy and sealing berths in the Olympics.
Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at a key player from each team ahead of this weekend's quarter-finals.