SPORTS Saudi Arabia, Australia enter semis at AFC U23 Champs


Saudi Arabia, Australia enter semis at AFC U23 Champs


04:28, January 19, 2020

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(Photo: QQ)

BANGKOK, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- A late goal gifted Saudi Arabia a 1-0 win over Thailand in the last eight round at 2020 AFC U23 championship Saturday. On the same day, with a goal in the extra time, Australia secured a berth in the semifinals.

Wisarut Imura almost helped the host take the lead in the 6th minute, but his lob found the crossbar.

Before the half break, Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Alhamddan missed two chances of scoring. One of the attempts was denied by Thailand's goalkeeper, and the other was put wide by the Al Shabab forward from close range.

Saudi Arabia dominated the second half. In the 77th minute, Alhamddan broke the deadlock through a penalty kick. He created the chance himself on a counter-attack.

Although the host's crossbar denied the Saudis' second goal, the Group A's runner-up failed to equalized before the final whistle.

According to the rules, the top three teams of the championship will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, with hosts Japan securing automatic qualification.

Thailand exited the upcoming Olympic tournament tickets competition with enough kudos, because the Asian potential elite had pocketed its best result in the championship since the year 2013 on the home soil.

In the other last eight round game played on Saturday, Syria built a solid defense system from the beginning. The team's Mohamad Albarri missed an one-on-one chance in the 9th minute following a quick transition.

The Socceroos set the pace but couldn't seal any scoring opportunities in the first half.

Syria, which defeated Japan 2-1 in the group stage, turned the game in its favor in the last 45 minutes and forced the game into extra time.

Australia snatch its best opportunity to go ahead just before the halftime break of the extra time as Al Hassan Toure's low shot found the net in the 102nd minute.

In the semifinals round, Australia will face the winner between South Korea and Jordan.

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