Good news continues as Malaysia qualify for the AFC Under-19 Championship - just
A 3-0 defeat to South Korea Wednesday evening forced Malaysia Under-19 to wait well past midnight to know their fate after all 10 groups were completed, but it was all smiles for Bojan Hodak’s charges as they ensured their place at next year’s AFC Under-19 Championship.
Malaysia, who came second to South Korea in Group F, were the fifth best second-placed team overall – which was the last qualification spot – at the conclusion of the final match, Yemen's visit to Saudi Arabia.
Malaysia will look back at a 4-1 win over Indonesia as their saving grace
Malaysia were on the verge of dropping out of the top five until the final 10 minutes of the Saudi-Yemen tie as the hosts scored two late goals to overturn a deficit.
Had Yemen hung on to the lead, Saudi Arabia would have dropped to second and pushed Malaysia out of the top five.
Instead, Malaysia will travel to Indonesia for the finals next October.
Malaysia will look back at a 4-1 win over Indonesia as their saving grace as anything less than a three-goal margin would have seen Malaysia miss out on the tournament proper.
Malaysia also defeated Timor Leste 3-1 and Brunei 1-0 in their other matches, but those ties didn’t count in the second-placed teams’ standings due to several lop-sided groups.
Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak finished as Malaysia's top-scorer with three goals while Akhyar Rashid, Zafuan Azeman, Zhafir Yusof, Nik Akif Syahiran and Shivan Pillay Asokan scored a goal each.
The feat marked another positive sign for Malaysia ... who have also qualified for the 2018 AFC Under-16 and Under-23 Championships
Vietnam and Thailand also qualified among Asia's 16 best Under-19 sides while Indonesia complete Southeast Asia’s representation by virtue of being host.
Malaysia have never qualified for the competition since it was rebranded to the Under-19s after the 2006 AFC Youth Championship.
The feat marked another positive sign for Malaysia, who are struggling to find their rhythm with the senior team but have also qualified for the 2018 AFC Under-16 Championship in Kuala Lumpur (September) and 2018 AFC Under-23 Championship in China (January).
These results indiciate exciting times ahead for Harimau Malaya, with the senior squad undergoing a transition to include more youngsters.
Previous members of Malaysia’s under-22 side like Nor Azam Azih, Matthew Davies, Syamer Kutty Abba, Syafiq Ahmad and Safawi Rasid have already been included in the senior squad by coach Nelo Vingada.