KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia qualified for next year's AFC Under-19 Championship for the first time in 11 years after finishing as one of the five best group runners-up on Thursday.
Coach Bojan Hodak and his team had to wait until the wee hours of Thursday morning for all the qualifying matches to be over and discover whether they had qualified for the 2018 tournament in Indonesia.
Although Malaysia lost to Group F hosts South Korea 3-0 in Paju on Wednesday, Hodak's team did just enough to finish as the fifth-best group runners-up and take the final spot on offer at the 16-team finals.
Malaysia finished ahead of sixth-placed Cambodia on goals scored after both teams ended up with the same goal difference.
But it was only after Saudi Arabia beat Yemen 2-1 in a Group D match was Malaysia's qualification confirmed.
This is the first time Malaysia have qualified for the Under-19 tournament since 2006, when a side coached by Datuk K. Rajagobal exited in the group stage.