8 Iconic Goals from the AFC U23 Championship
Kuala Lumpur: With the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 just a few weeks away, we look back at some of the finest goals the competition has seen since it kicked off in Oman in early 2014.
Featuring some of Asia’s finest modern-day talent, including the 2018 AFC Player of the Year Abdelkarim Hassan, Japan’s Shoya Nakajima and Vietnam’s Nguyen Quang Hai, our selection offers the perfect way to whet your appetite ahead of the fourth edition of the tournament early next year.
After viewing the goals, tell us which is your favourite by casting your vote at the bottom of the article.
1. Zakaria Al Sudani (2014)
Saudi Arabia vs Uzbekistan, Group Stage
The Green Falcons knew only victory against Uzbekistan would seal their place in the next round and Zakaria Al Sudani’s stunning strike on the hour booked their place in the last eight en route to a final defeat against Iraq.
2. Abdelkarim Hassan (2016)
Qatar vs China PR, Group Stage
Over the years, Abdelkarim Hassan has forged a reputation for scoring piledrivers from distance, and this rocket in a 3-1 win over China was one of four goals the left-back scored in the 2016 competition.
3. Ahmed Al Sarori (2016)
Yemen vs Uzbekistan, Group Stage
A goal befitting of any occasion, Ahmed Al Sarori received the ball in his own half and four touches later it was in the back of the Uzbek net after a beautifully weighted chip over Abdumavlon Abduljalilov for Yemen’s only goal of the campaign.
4. Mahdi Torabi (2016)
IR Iran vs China PR, Group Stage
From fully 30 yards out, Mahdi Torabi struck this free-kick with precision and power for the Iranians’ third in a 3-2 victory over China that saw the young Team Melli progress to the last eight.
5. Omar Maanasrah (2016)
Jordan vs Vietnam, Group Stage
In a tournament that witnessed numerous spectacular goals, Jordan’s Omar Maanasrah added another as the full-back smashed this one in off the crossbar in a 3-1 opening-day win against Vietnam.
6. Shoya Nakajima (2016)
Japan vs IR Iran, Quarter-Finals
One of the finest players to have ever graced the AFC U23 Championship, current FC Porto star Shoya Nakajima produced this sublime effort against Islamic Republic of Iran in the 2016 quarter-finals before Japan went on to lift the title.
7. Azizjon Ganiev (2018)
Uzbekistan vs Korea Republic, Semi-Finals
It was a glorious campaign for the Central Asians in 2018 and Azizjon Ganiev’s extra-time strike against Korea Republic was one of many moments to remember en route to the title. The celebration wasn’t bad either.
8. Nguyen Quang Hai (2018)
Vietnam vs Uzbekistan, Final
While Uzbekistan won the tournament, Nguyen Quang Hai captured the imagination and his ‘Rainbow in the Snow’ in the final – one of five superb goals by the midfielder – provided one of the most iconic moments the competition has ever seen.