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U-23 football team needs a win to advance in Asian Championship

By Aline Bannayan - Jan 15,2020 - Last updated at Jan 15,2020

AMMAN   — The national U-23 Olympic team needs to beat the UAE on Thursday to secure  a spot in quarter-finals of the 4th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship currently under way in Thailand. 

Jordan is now second in Group D after it beat North Korea 2-1 but drew 0-0 by Vietnam in the second match of the qualifying tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

With the top two teams from each group moving on to the quarters, Jordan needs to win regardless of the result of the Vietnam-North Korea match to advance, while the UAE who lead the table needs a draw. Vietnam need to win by a difference of two goals to secure the second qualifying spot from the group.

"The result against Vietnam was disappointing. We had many chances to secure the win but we could not convert them into goals. We now have to focus on the match ahead," Jordan's coach Ahmad Abdul Qader underlined. 

Compounding the coach's troubles who is fighting for a qualifying spot to the 2020 Olympics, are two injuries to Mohammad Bani Atia and Mohammad Zoubi in addition to the team's leading star Mousa Ta'mari was being released by his Cypriot club to join the team.

In 2018, the U-23 team was knocked out of Round 1 of the 3rd AFC U-23 Championship. In 2016, they reached the quarter-finals and in 2014 they finished third. 

Officials hope the team will advance after other national teams were eliminated last year. The U-16  squad was eliminated in qualifiers and failed to advance to the U-16 AFC Championship which serves as a qualifier for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.  In the earlier edition,  Jordan bowed out of  the Round 1 of the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship. 

The U-16 women's squad was eliminated in qualifiers and failed to advance to the AFC U-16 Women's Championship. Similarly, the U-19 women's and men's teams were also eliminated from qualifiers for the AFC Championship. 

The U-19 men's team had impressive results in five past editions. The best performance came when it finished fourth in 2006 and advanced to the FIFA Youth World Cup in Canada in 2007. Jordan exited the first round in 2008 and 2010 and 2018 and reached the quarters in 2012.  This was the third time Jordan failed to qualify after the 2014 and 2016.

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