KUALA LUMPUR: Host country Thailand dashed Malaysia’s hopes of finishing as Group H winners and earn an automatic slot in the finals of the 2024 Asia Cup Under-23 championship after going down 0-1 in their final Group H match at the Chonburi Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand tonight.
The only goal of the match was scored by Yotsakon Buraphain in the 20th minute to prolong coach E. Elavarasan’s wait to know if Malaysia will qualify among the top four runner-up finishers.
Malaysia started off well and pinned the host country in their own half for a good 10 minutes of the first half and could have taken the lead through Nooa Laine but his ninth minute attempt was denied by Thailand goalkeeper Thirawooth Sraunson.
The less than conducive pitch made it difficult for the Malaysian boys to control the ball but the Thais were quick to adapt to the playing conditions before the crucial header from Yotsakon in the 20th minute.
The Harimau Muda players went on the offensive in search of the equaliser but the Thais held on to walk out with all three points.
Group champions and four best runner-up teams from the 11 participating groups qualify for the 2024 Asia Cup in Qatar scheduled from April 15 to May 3, 2024. - Bernama