Dubai: The UAE have failed to qualify for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championships after group stage qualification concluded on Sunday.
The Whites lost their last group qualifier 2-0 at home to Uzbekistan in Al Ain last Wednesday but were still due to qualify as one of the best six group runners-up after earlier beating Nepal 5-0 and Lebanon 1-0.
This gave the UAE six points and a plus-four goal difference, putting them among the best six runners-up.
However, due to Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from Group A, the AFC ruled that results from the bottom sides of each group would be deleted, meaning the UAE’s 5-0 opening win over Nepal was null and void.
The revision meant the UAE were left with just three points and a minus-one goal difference from their 1-0 win over Lebanon and their 2-0 defeat to Uzbekistan, seeing them slip down the best runners-up ranking, where they finished ninth out of 10 runners-up.
The winners of 10 qualifying groups of four along with six runners-up have now been confirmed for the January 9-27 tournament in China. They are; hosts China, qualifying group winners; Uzbekistan, Oman, Iraq, Qatar, Palestine, Australia, North Korea, Malaysia, South Korea. Best runners-up were; Thailand, Syria, Vietnam, Jordan, Japan and Saudi Arabia.