Bangkok: Saudi Arabia beat Uzbekistan 1-0 on Wednesday to claim a place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 final and, in the process, qualify for this year’s Olympic Games.
On a night of high drama at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium, a late Nasser Al Omran strike was deflected into the net by Abdullah Al Hamdan to guide Saad Alshehri’s charges through to a title showdown against Korea Republic, while also assuring their participation at Tokyo 2020.
Despite the defeat, Uzbekistan may yet qualify for the Olympics as they will now feature in Saturday’s play-off against Uzbekistan, the winner of which is guaranteed a ticket to Japan for the global extravaganza.
Saudi Arabia eye trophy after Tokyo 2020 qualification
Bangkok: Head coach Saad Alshehri has declared that Saudi Arabia will do everything within their power to claim the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 crown after Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Uzbekistan saw them move into the final and, in the process, qualify for this year’s Olympic Games.
Nasser Al Omran’s late and wickedly deflected strike ultimately proved the difference on a night when Saudi Arabia advanced past an Uzbekistan side guilty of squandering several chances to progress themselves.
With a title showdown still to come against Korea Republic on Sunday, Alshehri has been quick to point out that, despite the euphoria surrounding his team’s Tokyo 2020 qualification, there remains work to be done in Bangkok.
Kim gets it right again as Korea Republic close in on glory
Bangkok: Kim Hak-bum had prepared his players for a battle of attrition against Australia ahead of their successful showing against Graham Arnold’s side on Wednesday as Korea Republic booked their place in the final of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.
Goals from Kim Dae-won and Lee Dong-gyeong in the second half ensured the Koreans not only set up a meeting in the final with Saudi Arabia on Sunday but that the country’s remarkable record of qualifying for the Olympic Games remaining intact.
The Koreans have appeared at every Olympics since Seoul hosted the Games in 1988 and victory over the Olyroos ensures Kim’s side will be playing in Tokyo this summer alongside the Saudis and the winners of Saturday’s third place play-off between Australia and Uzbekistan. Hosts Japan will be Asia's fourth team at the Olympics.
Australia's Arnold targets Olympics after last four heartbreak
Bangkok: Australia head coach Graham Arnold had no option but to concede his Olyroos side were second best as they missed out on a place in the final of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 on Wednesday after slipping to a 2-0 loss to a dynamic Korea Republic.
The Australians were outplayed for much of the 90 minutes at Thammasat Stadium, with goals from Kim Dae-won and Lee Dong-gyeong taking the Koreans into the final while Arnold’s side will face Uzbekistan in the third place play-off on Saturday.
In addition to the bronze medal, Asia’s third berth at the Tokyo Olympic Games will be on the line and Arnold will attempt to lift his players as he looks to qualify the country for the global extravaganza for the first time since 2008.
Drulovic issues Uzbekistan rallying cry after semi-final woe
Bangkok: After seeing Uzbekistan’s AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 title aspirations undone thanks to a 1-0 semi-final loss to Saudi Arabia, head coach Ljubinko Drulovic has called on his players to show their true character when they go up against Australia with a place at this year’s Olympic Games still up for grabs.
A late Nasser Al Omran effort ultimately proved Uzbekistan’s undoing as the 2018 champions had their dreams of retaining the Continental crown shattered by their in-form opponents.
While the win guaranteed Saudi Arabia a place at Tokyo 2020, Uzbekistan will also be assured of their ticket to the global extravaganza should they beat the Olyroos, who lost to Korea Republic in the competition’s other last four showdown, on Saturday.
Bangkok: Second half goals from Kim Dae-won and Lee Dong-gyeong secured Korea Republic a place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 final and a berth at the Tokyo Olympic Games as Kim Hak-bum’s side handed Australia a 2-0 defeat at Thammasat Stadium on Wednesday.
The Koreans, who will meet Saudi Arabia in the final at Rajamangala Stadium on Sunday, put on a dominant display to outplay the Olyroos and ensure the country continue their remarkable run of qualification for the Olympic Games, which remains unbroken since Seoul hosted the event in 1988.