Malaysia miss out on AFC U-23 Championship qualification

By Seng Foo 27 March 2019 2484
Malaysia miss out on AFC U-23 Championship qualification
Malaysia failed to qualify for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship despite fighting out a resilient 2-2 draw with China at the Shah Alam Stadium on Sunday.

The young Tigers took the lead twice through Zhu Chenjie's own goal and Danial Haqim Draman, but China fought back each time with goals from Zhang Yuning and Jiang Shenglong.

Despite having the same amount of points in Group J, Ong Kim Swee's boys finished second behind China, who had a superior goal difference thanks to their big wins over Laos (5-0) and the Philippines (8-0).

China were through to next year's finals as group winners, while Malaysia could've still gone through as one of the five best second-placed teams depending on results elsewhere.

However, next year's hosts Thailand lost 4-0 to Vietnam, which reduced the number of slots to four because they qualified for the tournament regardless.

Australia, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia then edged out Malaysia for those spots, as well as their ticket to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, despite several group matches still ongoing.

Thus, last year's edition remained as Malaysia's only appearance at the tournament.

They made their AFC U-23 Championship debut in China last year and reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to South Korea.

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