Indonesia claim very first U23 Asian Cup qualification

By Hieu Luong   September 13, 2023 | 01:56 am PT
Indonesia claim very first U23 Asian Cup qualification
Ivan Jenner (R) celebrates after scoring for Indonesia in the U23 Asian Cup qualifying game against Turkmenistan on September 12, 2023. Photo by PSSI
This is the first time Southeast Asia has four teams qualifying for the U23 Asian Cup, with Indonesia getting past the qualifiers for the first time.

Before the final round of the qualifiers on Tuesday, Indonesia had three points like Turkmenistan but led group K due to having better a goal difference (+9 compared to +4). They also had the home advantage, so a draw would be enough for them.

However, Indonesia still chose to attack right from the start and got two goals in the 40th and 90th minute to win 2-0.

In their sixth U23 Asian Cup qualifier, Indonesia finally advanced.

Southeast Asia also has Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam qualifying for the main event next year.

Thailand took the top of Group H after winning 1-0 against Malaysia in the final round. Malaysia qualified as one of the four best second-placed teams. They had three points and a goal difference of +3 like Iran, but had better fair-play points for only receiving four yellow cards compared to Iran's nine.

Vietnam qualified as top of Group C, beating Guam and Yemen and drawing against Singapore.

This is the fifth time that Vietnam and Thailand have made it past the qualifiers and the third time for Malaysia.

The 2024 U23 Asian Cup will take place in Qatar from April 15 to May 3 in four cities. Only players who are born from January 1, 2001, and later are eligible to compete. The top three teams of the tournament will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Paris, while the fourth place will face Guinea in the play-off.

The seeding in the main event will be based on the performance in the 2022 edition. The first-seeded group includes host Qatar, defending champions Saudi Arabia, runner-up Uzbekistan and third-placed Japan.

Vietnam, who reached the quarterfinals in 2022, are in the second group with Australia, South Korea and Iraq. The third group is Thailand, Jordan, UAE and Kuwait. The fourth group is Malaysia, Tajikistan, Indonesia and China.

Coach Philippe Troussier will lead the U23 team of Vietnam in the tournament and the goal is Olympics qualification.

Vietnam's best achievement in this tournament was the runner-up position in 2018 with coach Park Hang-seo. When the team reached the quarterfinals in 2022, Vietnam were coached by another South Korean, Gong Oh-kyun.

The U23 Asian Cup was first held in 2013, and is also the Olympic men's football qualifiers of Asia. After five editions, the champions are Iraq, Japan, Uzbekistan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

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