Malaysia, Thailand qualify for AFC U-23 Asian Cup; Singapore eliminated

Having reached the quarterfinals in 2018, Malaysia have once again qualified for the 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup after finishing top of Group J ahead of fellow Southeast Asian outfit Thailand. Asian Football Confederation

Malaysia have booked their spot at the 2022 AFC U-23 Asian Cup after a 0-0 draw with Thailand in Ulaanbaatar on Sunday secured top spot in Group J of the qualifiers.

Following victories over Laos and hosts Mongolia in their opening two matches, the stalemate against the Thais in their final game was enough to see Malaysia -- coached by ex-Australia international Brad Maloney -- finish two points clear at the top.

With the result, the Malaysians will be returning to the continent's Under-23 showpiece for the first time since reaching the quarterfinals in 2018, having failed to qualify for last year's tournament.

Meanwhile, Thailand's efforts over the past week was also good enough to see them also qualify as one of the four best runners-up.

There was no such joy for fellow Southeast Asian outfit Singapore however, as a heavy 5-1 defeat to reigning champions South Korea saw them bow out despite having picked up four points in their previous two Group H matches against Timor-Leste and Philippines.

Following Sunday's action, a total of 13 teams are already through to next June's competition. Hosts Uzbekistan qualified automatically and have been joined by group winners Qatar, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Australia, South Korea, Malaysia and Japan, while Thailand and Turkmenistan are guaranteed berths as two of the best-placed runners-up.

The qualifiers for the U-23 Asian Cup conclude on Tuesday with Vietnam and Myanmar battling it out for top spot in Group I, while Saudi Arabia still have a chance of advancing as runners-up in Group D should they beat Bangladesh by more than two goals.