KUALA LUMPUR – The chance of the national Under-19 squad qualifying automatically for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Championship in Indonesia is slim after being beaten by South Korea 0-3 at the final group level action today.
At the final match of Group F, Under-19 AFC Championship qualifying campaign in Paju, South Korea, the squad coached by Bojan Hodak clearly had to struggle to come up to the level of the host players.
South Korea did not have to wait long when Um Wonsang placed his team in front in the 11th minute with a solid header which beat national goalkeeper, Muhammad Azri Abdul Ghani.
South Korea’s unrelenting attacks again shook the Malaysian goal, this time through Kim Jungmin who duped the national team’s defence to double the score in the 38th minute.
At the end of the first half, South Korea was presented with a penalty after Shivan Pillay fouled an opponent in the penalty box and Cho Young Wook kicked in the third goal in the 45th minute.
The second half saw the national squad failing to find the opposing net and the 0-3 score stayed until the final whistle.
Malaysia started its qualifying campaign through a 3-1 win over Timor Leste on Tuesday, recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Brunei and trounced Indonesia 4-1 in the third group action.
The loss in today’s match saw the national squad collecting nine points overall to simultaneously become runner-up of Group F behind South Korea with 12 points.
According to the qualification format, all 10 group champions (Group A to J) and the best five group runners-up qualified to the final round in Indonesia from Oct 8 to Nov 4, 2018.
Malaysia must wait for the final actions of Group A to J to end before ensuring the ticket to the final round in October if it succeeded in becoming the best five runners-up.
The top four teams from the championship in Indonesia would qualify automatically to the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup as AFC representatives. – BERNAMA