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KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia received a favourable draw in two Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Qualifiers – the 2018 Under 19 (U-19) and Under 16 (U-16) championships which are slated to be held in September and October this year.

Based on the draw held at AFC Hous, here today, the national U-16 squad have been drawn in Group J with Guam and Indonesia but the real test will be against Japan who emerged victorious twice, back in 1994 and 2006.

Malaysia also received an easy passage to qualify to the final round of the U-19 championship as they have been drawn in Group F with three ASEAN rivals; Timor Leste, Brunei and Indonesia but facing a mammoth task against 12-time champions, South Korea who will be hosting the qualifying matches.

Based on the competition format in both qualifiers, the group winners in each of the 10 groups and also the five second-placed best teams will advance to the final rounds.

The 2018 U-16 Qualifiers will be held from Sept 16-24 while the 2018 U-19 Qualifiers from Oct 31 to Nov 8 this year in the selected host countries.

Meanwhile, AFC Head of National Team Competitions Avazbek Berdikulov revealed that Malaysia have expressed their interest to host the U-16 Final Round meet while Indonesia and Myanmar are also keen to host the U-19 Final Round meet.

He noted that the increasing number of teams taking part in both qualifiers show that AFC affiliates realise the importance of such tournaments for youth development in their respective countries.

“The only difference for this year is that each group in the qualifying round comprise four or five teams compared to the previous edition which was up to eight teams in each group. We try to make it easier for the participating teams to play in the qualifiers, thus qualify to the final round,” he said.
U-19 Qualifiers Draw:

Group A: Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan (host)

Group B: Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Tajikistan (host)

Group C: Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Qatar (host)

Group D: Yemen, Turkmenistan, India, Saudi Arabia (host)

Group E: Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iran (host)

Group F: MALAYSIA, Timor Leste, Brunei, Indonesia, South Korea (host)

Group G: China, Myanmar, Philippines, Cambodia (host)

Group H: Vietnam, Laos, Taiwan, Macau (host)

Group I: Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Mongolia (host)

Group J: Australia, North Korea, Hong Kong, Northern Mariana Islands (host)

U-16 Qualifiers Draw:

Group A: Uzbekistan, Jordan, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia (host)

Group B: Oman, Syria, Turkmenistan, Maldives, Tajikistan (host)

Group C: Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bhutan, Iran (host)

Group D: Iraq, India, Palestine, Nepal (host)

Group E: United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Bangladesh, Qatar (host)

Group F: North Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Brunei Darussalam (host)

Group G: Laos, Timor Leste, Northern Mariana Islands, Indonesia, Thailand (host)

Group H: South Korea, China, Myanmar, Philippines (host)

Group I: Vietnam, Australia, Cambodia, Mongolia (host)

Group J: Japan, MALAYSIA, Singapore, Guam – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) are still in the process of discussing the issue of a neutral venue for the match between Malaysia and North Korea, with the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and North Korean Football Association.

AFC Secretary-general Windsor Paul when contacted by Bernama on Monday said though the AFC are still discussing the prospect of a neutral venue for the 2019 Asia Cup Qualifying match between Malaysia and North Korea, a decision was expected by end of the week.

“We will make an announcement by end of the week,” he said.

Prior to this, North Korea was given a month’s time by AFC to propose a neutral venue for the match.

The Malaysian squad, previously coached by Ong Kim Swee, was originally scheduled to play North Korea in a Group B 2019 Asian Cup qualifying match at the Kim il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang on March 28.

However, due to diplomatic tensions following the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother Kim Jong-nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13, the Malaysian government had barred the national squad from playing in that country due to safety reasons.

Following that, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) on March 13 had appealed to the AFC to pick a neutral venue for the match.
–BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Last year’s Super League runner-up Felda United’s winless
streak continued in the AFC Cup competition after managing only a 0-0 draw
against Ceres Negros FC at the Pana-ad Park and Football Stadium in Bacolod
City, Philiphines last night.

The goalless draw saw Felda United remain at the bottom of Group G after
three matches with two points from two draws and a loss.

Felda United had lost 1-2 to Tampines Rovers from Singapore on Feb 21,
before managing a 1-1 draw against Vietnam’s Hanoi FC on March 7.

In the action that was telecast live by Astro’s Foxsports, both teams
dished out fast, attacking play but failed to find the target, largely due to
the agility of their goalkeepers and defenders.

Felda United had a golden opportunity to clinch all three points when the
referee awarded a penalty in the 58th minute when striker Norshahrul Idlan
Talaha was brought down inside the box.

However, Argentine import Lucas Cano’s tame shot was saved by Ceres Negros
goalkeeper Roland Muller.

Meanwhile, in another Group G match played today, Hanoi FC scored a
convincing 4-0 victory over Tampines Rovers at the My Dinh Stadium in Vietnam.
— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The 2019 Asia Cup final round qualifier between North Korea and Malaysia scheduled for March 28 in Pyongyang has beenĀ  postponed to a later date.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in a statement today said a new date for the match will be announced in due course.

“AFC’s Competitions Committee took the decision to postpone the tie following the escalating diplomatic tensions between the Governments of North Korea and Malaysia,” said AFC in its official website, www.the-afc.com.

The Harimau Malaysia squad led by Datuk Ong Kim Swee was originally scheduled to face North Korea in the Group B opening match for the qualifying at the Kim Il-sung Stadium in the country’s capital, Pyongyang.

However, due to diplomatic tensions following the murder of the North Korean leader’s estranged half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, at the Kuala Lumupur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13, the government had prohibited Harimau Malaysia from playing in that country due to security reasons.

Following that, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) on Monday had requested AFC to change the venue to a neutral ground.

The situation worsened on Tuesday when the Malaysian government also banned North Koreans in Malaysia from leaving the country, after North Korea barred 11 Malaysians from leaving that country.

The request for a neutral ground is not something new in football as= countries such as Israel, Palestine, Syria and Saudi Arabia have played at neutral venues for certain reasons.

Meanwhile, FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin welcomed the decision saying it was the right move in the interest of the safety and security of the players and officials.

“On the new date and venue, FAM leaves it to the AFC to decide and we will cooperate fully on the matter,” he said.

He added that the international friendly between Malaysia and the Phlippines on March 22 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila would go on as scheduled as it was a good opportunity for Malaysia to improve on its world ranking (Malaysia are currently ranked 161st). – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will decide on a change of venue for the North Korea-Malaysia match to a neutral ground tomorrow.

AFC secretary-general Datuk Windsor Paul said a decision would be made by the confederation’s Competition Committee after receiving a request from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to skip playing in Pyongyang over security concerns.

“The Competition Committee will make a decision tomorrow and will announce it tomorrow itself. This is what I can say now,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

The squad led by Datuk Ong Kim Swee is scheduled to face North Korea in a Group B opening match for the 2019 Asian Cup qualifying third round at Kim Il-sung Stadium in Pyongyang on March 28.

However, due to diplomatic tension following the murder of the North Korean leader’s estranged half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, at KL International Airport 2 (klia2) on Feb 13, the government had prohibited Harimau Malaysia from playing in that country for security reason.

On Tuesday, the Malaysian government had also banned North Koreans in Malaysia from leaving the country, after North Korea prevented 11 Malaysians from leaving that country.

The request for a neutral ground is not something new in football as countries such as Israel, Palestine, Syria and Saudi Arabia had played at neutral venues for certain reasons.

The return match between the two teams scheduled for Nov 14 may also be moved to another neutral venue.

Meanwhile, FAM secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin, when contacted, said FAM had yet to receive news on any latest development from AFC.

Hamidin had on Tuesday, said that AFC was expected to announce a decision on the request after the application to change the venue was sent on Monday. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) moved into the final playoff round of
the 2017 AFC Champions League after beating edging Thailand’s Bangkok United
5-4 on penalties at the Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani, last night.

Both teams were tied 1-1 after regulation and extra time, forcing the
outcome to be decided by a penalty shootout.

After a goalless draw during regulation time (90 minutes) the match went
into a 30-minute extra time which saw skipper Safiq Rahim give JDT the lead in
the 108 minute but Jaycee John Okwunwanne struck the equaliser in the final
minute of play to force the shootout.

The equaliser was JDT’s own doing since the side was reduced to 10-man when
Argentina import Jeronimo Barrales was given the marching orders in the 110th
minute.

JDT will have a mountain to climb in the playoff round as their opponent
would be Japan’s Gamba Osaka who host them at the Suita City Stadium in Osaka,
Japan on Feb 7.

A win against Gamba Osaka will earn JDT a place in Group H of the Asian
Champions League (ACL) together with Adelaide United from Australia, Jiangsu
Suning (China) and Jeju United from South Korea.
— BERNAMA

 

KUALA LUMPUR – Selangor had to be contented with only one point after drawing 2-2 with Filipino club, Ceres La Salle FC in their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup group E opening match at Panaad Stadium, Bacolod City, Philippines yesterday.

The game which was aired ‘live’ over TV9 saw Stephan Schrock putting the host ahead in the 18th minute before Argentine striker Mauro Andres Olivi equalised for Selangor in the 34th minute.

The score remained 1-1 until the end of the first half.

— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia failed to advance to the final of the inaugural 2015 AFC Women’s Futsal Championship after being mauled 8-1 by Japan in the semifinal at the Nilai Indoor Stadium in Negeri Sembilan, last night.

The win saw Japan setup a clash against Iran who beat Thailand 1-0 in the other semifinal while Malaysia will square-off with Thailand in the 3rd/4th classification match.

Both matches will be played today.

In tonight’s match which was telecast live, Japan took a 3-0 led through Sakata Mutsumi in the second minute, Amishiro Anna (12th min) and Kitagawa Kana in the 15th minute.

After resumption, Japan added five more goals through Higashiyama Maiko (23rd min), Sakata (35th min) and a hattrick by Kichibayashi Chikage through a penalty kick in the 39th minute and two goals in the closing minutes of the match.

Malaysia’s consolation goal was scored through a stunning long-range effort by substitute goalkeeper, Sity Norazizah Jamal in the 35th minute.

Speaking of the defeat, national women’s futsal coach, Chiew Chun Yong admitted that the Japanese side were much better in terms of physical and technical ability.

“Our players could not cope with Japan’s speed and agility but they tried their best. I believe the players have learned much from this defeat,” she said.

– BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The national women’s futsal squad qualified for the semifinals of the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship at the Nilai Indoor Stadium, Negeri Sembilan although they still have one game in hand at the group stage.

In the second Group A match yesterday, Malaysia notched a second straight win, beating Hong Kong 4-1 to be in the second spot in Group A behind Iran, based on goal difference.

In the match, the Malaysian squad were trailing as early as the fifth minute through a goal by Wong So Han before equalising 1-1 from an own goal by Kwong Wing Yan, two minutes later.

Malaysia managed to add three more goals subsequently through Fatin Shahida Azmi in the 30th and two goals from Farahiyah Muhd Ridzuan in the 33rd and 35th.

Malaysia earlier recorded a comfortable win 9-4 against Uzbekistan in the group’s opening match yesterday.

The Malaysian squad will complete its preliminary round against Iran at the same venue tomorrow.

Eight Asian nations are competing in the first edition of the championship namely Iran, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan and Malaysia as host in the Group A.

The four other nations in Group B are Japan, Thailand, China and Vietnam.

— BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The national under-16 (U-16) squad are moving closer to clinch a spot in the final round of the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Championship after mauling the Philippines 7-0 in their third group G match of the qualifier at the Laos National Stadium in Laos, last night.

Malaysia only needed a draw in their last group match against hosts Laos on Sunday to confirm their slot in the final round of the tournament which will be held in India, next year.

In the match, Malaysia led 4-0 at halftime through an own goal by Philippines player, Prichi Roy James in the 26th minute and three other goals from Aliff in the 32nd minute, Muhammad Iqbal Hakem (36th minute) and Muhammad Izreen, six minutes later, reported AFC website;www.the-afc.com.

After resumption, Malaysia added three more goals through Zainul Arifin in the 74th minute and a brace from substitute, Muhammad Alif Safwan in the 67th and 70th minute.

The group winner of each 11 groups and four best runner-up teams in the qualifying round, will qualify for the final round, joining India who gained an automatic slot as the final round hosts.

— BERNAMA