AFF U19: Rafli blasts Indonesia into the semis, Thais win big again

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Muhamad Rafli Mursalim blasted a late goal against Vietnam tonight to sensationally send hosts Indonesia into the semi-finals of the AFF Under-19 Championship. The Indonesians celebrated their passage through to the last four with over 25,000 screaming fans at the Gelora Delta Stadium tonight.

It’s obvious the fans are already dreaming of a 2013 repeat when Indonesia won this tournament, at this same venue. Back then, Indonesia won the title after edging Vietnam in a shootout.

In earlier matches this afternoon, Thailand and Laos defeated their opponents, Philippines and Singapore, by similar scores of 5-0.

With Indonesia through, the other slot will now be a battle between defending champions Thailand and Vietnam. Unbeaten Indonesia have a maximum 12 points while Thailand, which earlier won their game against the Philippines this afternoon, are second on 10 with Vietnam next with seven points.

Vietnam however will face an uphill path to advance from here on. For this to happen Indonesia must overcome Thailand, and Vietnam must defeat Singapore by more than seven goals.

In the last match of the day, with a packed stadium cheering them on, the Indonesian players were fired up and battled furiously for every ball. Although they tried hard, they never had any really close calls in the first half. The absence of midfield dynamo Todd Ferre, who is injured, was evident as there was no one to take charge of the centre. One of the best chances for the home side was a 16th minute cracker from Witan Sulaeman that went over the bar. 

Vietnam created more moves upfront and had more attempts, especially from the lanky Lieu Quang Vinh and the speedy Nguyen Huu Thang. In the very first minute, Huu Thang was a shade too slow to turn in a cross from Tran Bao Toan.

Coach Indra Sjafri, not surprisingly, brought in Todd, the difference was immediate as Indonesia began to take charge of the game and began to launch serious attacks on their opponents. As they displayed in their previous match against the Philippines, the Indonesians never lost heart and gave it their all. Their efforts paid off when Todd weaved his way through and slammed his shot but it came off the crossbar. The rebound landed in the path of Muhamad Rafli who volleyed home.

Meanwhile, Thailand, with seven points already in the bag, left their key players on the bench. Only three players that were listed in the starting line-up against Singapore, which Thailand won 6-0, were called upon again to start again today. The Thais were clearly confident and rested their main players although they had not yet booked their spots in the semis.

Without the likes of strikers Mattee Sarakum and Sittichok Paso, the Thais did not have the same firepower but still had enough in their reserves to get the job done. After faltering in the early part of the first half, the Thais finally struck in the 37th minute through Korawich Taso who would later go on to complete a hattrick with further strikes in the 55th and 84th minutes.

It was only after the break when they came alive and smashed in four goals to walk away with an easy win and three more points. The two other goals came from Narakorn Noomchansakool (63rd) and Pithak Phaphirom (61st).

In another match at the Joko Samudro Stadium in Gresik, Laos exploded in the first half, slamming four goals against Singapore. Kittisak Phomvongsa got the show on the road in the sixth minute with

Lextoxa Thongsavath making it 2-0 by the 21st minute. Laos went on to score twice in seven minjutes through Chitpasong Latthachack (30th) and Bounphachan Bounkong (37th).

Laos added one more after the break, through Bounphachan in the 62nd minute, to walk away with their first victory in this tournament. 

 

RESULTS 

Date Match Group Teams
July 7

 

15 A SINGAPORE                0

 

LAOS                          5

Kittisak Phomvongsa 6th

Lextoxa Thongsavath 21st

Chitpasong Latthachack 30th

Bounphachan Bounkong 37th , 62nd

 

July 7 16 A PHILIPPINES                0

 

THAILAND                5

Korawich Tasa 37th, 55th , 84th

Narakorn Noomchansakool 63rd

Pithak Phaphirom 61st

 

July 7 17 A INDONESIA

Muhamad Rafli Mursalim 81st

 

VIETNAM

 

 

 FIXTURES (remaining group stage matches)

July 8 – Group B: Myanmar vs Brunei, Timor Leste vs Malaysia

July 9 – Group A: Laos vs Philippines, Vietnam vs Singapore, Thailand vs Indonesia 

July 10 – Group B: Cambodia vs Timor Leste, Malaysia vs Myanmar

 

For the complete fixtures, go to http://www.aseanfootball.org/v3/aff-u19-championship-2018/#1526567058939-ef16c19b-91be

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