Heading into the final day of AFC U23 Qualifying, both Malaysia and Myanmar face stellar opposition while needing to pick up points to secure their qualification to the final tournament in Bangkok.
In Group I, Myanmar hosted Japan, Macau, and Timor-Leste, beating the latter two sides 7-0 and 4-0 respectively. Despite their comfortable wins, Myanmar remain second in the group behind Japan, who they are set to take on today. The side could progress even with a loss, depending on their final goal difference and standing in the second-placed rankings. The South-East Asian outfit currently sit second behind Australia, giving them a buffer between themselves and potential elimination. As such, Myanmar’s survival condition is to concede less than two goals, and hope the likes of Iran, Syria, Tajikistan and Saudi Arabia don’t all manage to overtake them in the rankings.
Malaysia, meanwhile, has a tougher task when they face up to Guus Hiddink’s China. The Young Tigers only managed a 1-0 win over Laos last time out, leaving them below the qualifying threshold in the second-placed rankings. As such, only a win or a draw would suffice for the promising young team. Given the number of talented players in the squad, Malaysia would be a notable absence from the AFC U23 Championships in Thailand next year. Ong Kim Swee’s men face a tough challenge to book their place at the final tournament.
Myanmar will take on Japan at 18:00 local time (UTC+6:30) while Malaysia host China at 20:45 local time (UTC+8)