KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Under-16 squad failed in its bid to book a berth in the semifinals of the 2014 AFC U-16 Football Championship hosted by Thailand after losing 1-2 to Australia in their quarterfinal match Sunday.
The result also dashed Malaysia’s hopes of securing a place in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile as only the top four teams in the tournament advance.
In yesterday’s match played at the Muangthong Stadium in Bangkok and telecast live through a local paid television, R. Kogileswaran (pic) gave Malaysia a flying start in the 31st minute.
However, Australia, the 2010 semi-finalists, levelled the tie through midfielder Cameron Riley Joice five minutes later before striker Daniel Max Maskin scored the winning goal in the 76th minute.
Despite the loss, the team’s achievement in the tournament was by far the best by the young national squad which is also known as Harimau Muda U-16, coached by former international and Kuala Lumpur striker S. Balachandran.
In another quarterfinal, two-time winner South Korea also booked their place in the semi-final after registering a comfortable 2-0 win over Japan at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok.
In the semi-final stage on Wednesday, Australia will meet either Iran or North Korea at the Muangthong Stadium while South Korea will play either Uzbekistan or Syria at the Rajamangala Stadium.
For the record, Malaysia qualified for the tournament twice before – 2004 in Japan and 2008 in Uzbekistan – but failed to get past the group stage. – Bernama