January 10 – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship 2018 kicked off in China on Tuesday with the host nation China recording a comfortable 3-0 win over Oman and Qatar beating Uzbekistan 1-0.In total, 16 teams will be vying to claim the title won by Japan two years ago in Qatar, and with the likes of Iraqi ace Hussain Ali and Chinese sensation Wei Shihao, who notched a goal and assist in his side’s opening day victory, gracing the competition, expectation is high that the tournament will further enhance its already burgeoning reputation.
This month’s action in a decidedly chilly Jiangsu province is set to conclude with the competition’s final on January 27, and is being held at four venues in the cities of Changzhou, Jiangyin, Changshu and Kunshan.
The AFC U23 Championship, now in its third edition, is seen as a stepping stone to success for Asia’s young footballers, with previous participants such as Iran’s Kaveh Rezaei, Shoya Nakajima from Japan and Saudi Arabia ace Abdullah Otayf all going on to taste great success in the professional game.
Reigning champions Japan are scheduled to begin their title defence against competition debutants Palestine on Wednesday.
Group A: CHINA, OMAN, QATAR, UZBEKISTAN
Group B: JAPAN, DPR KOREA, THAILAND, PALESTINE
Group C: IRAQ, JORDAN, SAUDI ARABIA, MALAYSIA
Group D: KOREA REPUBLIC, AUSTRALIA, SYRIA, VIETNAM
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