Defending champions Vietnam and hosts Thailand made a fabulous start to their campaigns in the AFF Beach Soccer this year where they each won their opening matches at the Laem Tan Beach here in Chonburi.
Under favourable conditions with the heat just letting up, it was Vietnam who got things going with captain Bui Tran Tan Anh firing in from distant for the lead as China the drew level with three minutes left of the first half.
Vietnam then stepped up a gear into the second period with two goals from Tran Ngoc Bao (4th) and Tran Vinh Phong (7th) as China seemed to be struggling to get their act together.
But while Vietnam managed to add their tally in the third period through Vinh Phong (8th) and Le Quy Long Vy (7th) for the score to stand at 5-1, China would soon find certain moments of clarity as they came back with three goals through Cai Wei Ming (4th), Hao Min Hui (4th) and Bai Fan (3rd).
With the score at 5-4 to Vietnam’s favour, Vinh Phong would be the catalyst for their win when he struck twice with three minutes remaining as China then pulled in a late strike off Min Hui for the final 7-5 scoreline.
In the meantime, Thailand had a late, late diving header from Ratthaphong Nadee to thank for their fantastic 4-3 win over Malaysia.
But the Malaysians stretched the Thais all the way to the final whistle as they got the first goal of the game off an own goal from Thailand’s Komkrit Nanan with two minutes left of the first period.
The score would be 1-1 going into the second period with Komkrit firing in from distant.
It was another close battle in the second period with the Malaysians once again in front through Wan Muhammad Syarif Wan Abdul Manan (10th) and Mohd Hasrol Ali (5th) before it was cancelled out by Thailand’s Watchara Lepaijit (5th) and Natee Jeepon (5th).
With the score at 3-3, the third period was intense, to say the least but in the end, with just 20 seconds remaining on the clock, came Ratthapong with a fantastic diving header to give Thailand the full points.
RESULTS – 13 Nov 2019
China PR 5 Vietnam 7
Thailand 4 Malaysia 3
FIXTURES – 14 Nov 2019
All matches at the Laem Tan Beach, Chonburi
1600: Malaysia vs China PR
1730: Afghanistan vs Thailand