Bangkok: Qatar coach Felix Sanchez claimed his team’s inability to keep possession was a key factor in their exit from the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 as the two-time semi-finalists missed out on the last eight as a result of their 1-1 draw with Japan on Wednesday.
A point was not enough for Sanchez’s side to climb above either Saudi Arabia or Syria and into the top two places in Group B, leaving the Qataris to pack their bags and head home along with the Japanese.
Abdullah Alahrak’s penalty secured the draw for the Qataris after Japan, who had been reduced to 10 men following Ao Tanaka’s sending off in first half injury time, had taken the lead through a long range strike from Koki Ogawa.
Bangkok: Ten-man Japan held on to claim their first point of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 on Wednesday as Hajime Moriyasu’s side earned a 1-1 draw against Qatar that meant the two-time semi-finalists missed out on a place in the knockout rounds.
Felix Sanchez’s side needed to win to advance to the quarter-finals for the third tournament in a row but a resolute performance by Japan, despite Ao Tanaka’s sending off in the dying seconds of the first half, ensured the 2016 champions salvaged a draw.
The Japanese went into the final Group B match looking to reclaim some pride having been eliminated from contention for a place in the next phase following back-to-back defeats in their opening games against Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Group B - MD3: Saudi Arabia top group, Syria through
Bangkok: Table-topping Saudi Arabia guaranteed their place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals on Wednesday courtesy of a 1-0 win over Syria who will join them in the last eight thanks to their second-place finish in Group B.
After beating Japan on Matchday One and drawing with Qatar last time out, Feras Al Birakan’s accomplished strike helped secure Saudi Arabia’s second victory of the campaign to leave them at the summit, three points clear of their West Asian rivals.
With Qatar and Japan both going home following their 1-1 draw in the group’s other game, Saudi Arabia will now meet Group A runners-up Thailand on Saturday, with Syria scheduled to meet Australia, the Group A winners, on the same day.
Group C - MD3: Uzbekistan through despite defeat to Korea Republic
Bangkok: Reigning champions Uzbekistan confirmed their spot in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals on Wednesday despite a narrow 2-1 defeat to an already-qualified Korea Republic.
Beaten by a brace from striker Oh Se-hun, Uzbekistan nevertheless marched into the last eight on goal difference after nearest rivals Islamic Republic of Iran could only beat China PR 1-0 in the group’s other game.
The result saw Uzbekistan finish second in Group C, while Korea Republic claimed top spot following three successive victories.
Group C - MD3: IR Iran's run ends despite win over China PR
Songkhla: Islamic Republic of Iran were eliminated from the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 title race despite a 1-0 win over China PR at Tinsulanon Stadium on Wednesday.
After wasting a string of chances, Iran finally took the lead through Omid Noorafkan’s 87th minute penalty, but it wasn’t enough to extend their stay in the competition, with Uzbekistan advancing on goal difference despite their 2-1 loss to Korea Republic in Pathum Thani
While Iran claimed a somewhat hollow first win of the competition, China PR’s defeat meant they finished Group C without a point or goal after three matches.
Buriram: UAE head coach Maciej Skorza is focused on recovery ahead of his side’s decisive AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group D clash against Jordan on Thursday.
The Whites currently top the group with four points from a goalless draw against Vietnam and a 2-0 victory over DPR Korea, meaning a point against Jordan is all they need to advance to the quarter-finals.
Bangkok: Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo wants to end his side’s group stage on a high even as they know their fate is out of their hands ahead of their final AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group D fixture against DPR Korea on Thursday.
Vietnam travelled to Bangkok for their last group game in the knowledge that should UAE and Jordan play out a score draw, the outcome of their game against already-eliminated DPR Korea would be rendered irrelevant and the 2018 runners-up would exit at the first stage.