x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Must-win scenario for UAE youth in AFC U19 championship

Japan also need to win last group clash to secure berth.

UAE, in red, held off group leaders Iran on Monday.
UAE, in red, held off group leaders Iran on Monday.

There are no mind-boggling equations or scenarios facing the UAE if they want to reach the knockout stages of the AFC Under 19 Championship tonight.

If Eid Baroot's side are to reach the quarter-finals of the competition from Group A then they must triumph against Japan in Ras Al Khaimah.

Anything less than that and it is game over for the hosts.

The UAE go into their final game of the group stages in third place on two points following their 1-1 draws with Kuwait on Saturday and then with Iran on Monday.

Japan have three points on the back of their 1-0 win over Kuwait on Monday, and despite being beaten by Iran in their opening game, they are now in a position where a draw should be enough for them to progress.

In the UAE's favour is the fact that the Japanese will not want to settle for the draw. Given the form of the Iranians thus far in the competition, an unlikely victory for Kuwait when they take on Iran in Fujairah tonight would move them on to four points, and if Japan were only to draw, then they would be level on points and goal difference would come into play, with Kuwait the ones to benefit.

Japan will not want to sweat it out so being positive and trying to win is their best way of guaranteeing qualification, good news for the UAE who will not have the challenge of trying to break down a side content to play out a scoreless draw.

A victory for the UAE guarantees them a quarter-final spot, almost certainly with Iran.

The regret they will have is that they are in a situation where they are the team with no margin for error.

Poor finishing against Kuwait, the weakest side in the group, on Saturday has cost them dear, as Baroot's men should be on four points, level with Iran, and ahead of Japan.

That would have allowed them to be the ones in a position where a draw will suffice.

Things are also close in Group B, which concludes tonight.

Iraq, who are four points, can guarantee their place in the next round by beating the bottom side China, who have no chance of progressing after two defeats in their first two games.

Thailand must beat South Korea to go through, with a draw only being enough if China pull off an upset and beat Iraq by two goals.

A draw will be enough for South Korea to qualify.

gcaygill@thenational.ae

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