10-men Malaysia tied by Japan, fails to qualify for 2020 AFC U-16 tourney

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia failed to qualify to the final round of 2020 Asian Football Confederation Under 16 (U-16) Tournament after sharing the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Japan in their final Group J qualifying match at the Laos National Stadium in Vientiane, today.

The result saw Malaysia emerge as Group J runners-up, but they failed to occupy the four best runners-up spot to qualify for the tournament proper after collecting four points from three matches.

Based on the tournament’s format, the best 11 teams from Group A-K, besides the four best runners-up will qualify for the final round.

In today’s action, Rui Osako broke the deadlock for Japan after converting a penalty spot in the 63rd, before Malaysia scored two quick goals via Daniel Edzuan through a field goal and also the penalty spot in the 73rd and 82nd minute, respectively, according to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Facebook page.

Yamato Naito, however scored the equaliser for Japan in the dying minute of the match which saw the East Asian side qualify to the tournament proper as the Group J winner.

Earlier, Malaysia had to play with 10 players after national custodian, Zulhilmi Sharani was given the marching orders by referee, Shukri Hussain A Alhunfush after conceding a foul on the Japanese player in the 60th minute inside the penalty box.

Speaking after the match, national U-15 squad head coach, P.Maniam said he was pleased with the performance of the boys in today’s match, despite failing to qualify to the tournament proper.

He said the boys displayed good determination in the match despite going down by a player in the early part of the second half.

We can see a lot of positive things within the team as we created a lot of chances.Trailing 0-1 and then leading 2-1 but they managed to equalise because the players lacked focus, but overall, I’m proud to coach this team because the players showcased good fighting spirit, the former international said.

For the record, Malaysia got off to a flying start in the tournament after thrashing Cambodia 7-0 in their Group J opening match on Sept 18, but suffered a 0-1 shock defeat to hosts Laos in the second preliminary match, two days later (Sept 20).

AFC has yet to announce who will be hosting the tournament proper.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)