The AFC U23 Championships enters the knockout stage with the quarter finals. South Korea progressed as winners of Group D and will take on Group C runners up Malaysia. The game takes place on Saturday afternoon (January 20th), Preview and Prediction below;
Squads & Route to the Quarter Finals for South Korea U23 v Malaysia U23
Before we start here are the squads for both South Korea & Malaysia;
Both nations have mainly domestically based players. With the Korea squad maybe having a little 1st team experience in comparison to their Malaysian counterparts.
Route to the Quarter Finals;
Starting with South Korea who finished top of Group D with 2wins and 1 draw;
2-1 vs. Vietnam U23
0-0 vs. Syria U23
3-2 vs. Australia U23
Korea were strong in all 3 games but not dominant. They also have the tournaments joint-leading goalscorer in Lee Keun-ho (Yonsei University), who has certainly caught the eye of some K League scouts.
Malaysia have improved game by game, and finished a surprising Group C runners-up with 1 win, 1 draw and 1 defeat;
1-3 vs. Iraq U23
1-1 vs. Jordan U23
1-0 vs. Saudi Arabia U23
The win over Saudi Arabia was the highlight. Safawi Rasid has been a key player for them, scoring twice including an important penalty v Jordan.
Preview & Prediction for South Korea U23 v Malaysia U23
2018 AFC U-23 Championship – Quarter Final
Kick Off: 5pm Saturday January 20th
South Korea U23 v Malaysia U23
Malaysia have already surpassed expectations by making it into the knockout stages however they face a big challenge in the form of South Korea. Korea are strong going forward and generally solid at the back. Malaysia can struggle to score goal but since the open game have looked more confident in defence.
Overall we see Korea winning this one. It might stay goalless until half time but goals either end of the second half should give Korea a place in the Semi-Finals.
Prediction: South Korea U23 2-0 Malaysia U23
Result & Highlights
Result: South Korea 2-1 Malaysia
All of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship games (at least the games with South Korea) will be shown on JTBC3 & Naver Sports.