KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian Under-16 football team secured their place in the quarterfinals of the 2014 AFC U-16 Football Championship in Thailand after edging Oman 2-1.
In the last group A match held at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, Wednesday, the squad also known as Harimau Muda U-16 defeated Oman who failed to win any match in the tournament.
It was by far the best achievement of the Malaysian U-16 squad coached by former international and Kuala Lumpur striker S. Balachandran.
Striker Muhammad Najmuddin Samat put Malaysia in front in the 64th minute before Mohammed Salam Humaid Hamed Al Ubaidani levelled the tie for Oman, four minutes later.
Muhammad Najmuddin emerged as the hero for the national side after adding his second of the night and Malaysia’s winning goal in the 77th minute to seal a quarter-final spot in the match that was telecast live on the local paid television.
Balachandran’s boys however, will have an uphill task as they will meet 2010 semi-finalist, Australia in the last eight of the tournament, at the Muangthong Stadium in Bangkok.
The young Socceroos cruised into the quarter-finals after topping Group B, including a 4-2 victory over Japan in their last preliminary match, today.
Two-time winners, South Korea who emerged as Group A champions will square-off against Japan who finished second behind Australia in Group B at the Rajamangala Stadium and both matches will be held on Sunday.
For the record, Malaysia has qualified for the tournament twice before – 2004 in Japan and 2008 in Uzbekistan – but failed to get past the group stage. – Bernama