Australia whipped the Philippines 13-0 to grab the top spot in Group B and in the process move a step closer to securing a semifinal slot in the AFF Futsal Championship currently taking place here at the Bangkok Arena.
The Aussies replaced overnight leaders Vietnam who had edged Myanmar 2-1 in another match here today. Vietnam could have retained the lead but they did not score enough goals to ensure a better goal difference. Both Australia and Vietnam have six points each from as many victories and are well positioned to make the semifinal cut.
For the record, the four semifinalists in the AFF Futsal will qualify for the Asian Futsal Championships to be held in Uzbekistan next year.
In the first match of the day, the Australians dominated from the start to the end to equal the biggest margin of victory here thus far. The Philippines tried desperately to break through and almost made it in the dying seconds but clearly it was not their day.
The Philippines in fact did well to hold off their opponents for the first six minutes. But a well-planned move caught the defence off as Adam Cooper flicked in a cross near the post. Cooper was on target a minute later and went on to complete his hattrick in the 23rd minute.
Australia’s other hattrick hero was Dean Lockhart who got his name on the scoresheet in the 15th, 16th and the 24th minutes. Their other scorers were Jarrod Basger (13th, 35th), Wade Giovenali (19th), Nathan Niski (19th, 29th) and Tobias Seeto (37th).
Their win has lifted them to the top of the group but this could be temporary depending on the outcome of the second group match today between Vietnam and Myanmar.
The Aussies next game will be against Laos which should they emerge victorious should be enough to advance to the semi-finals. Their last group match against Vietnam will likely determine the top two positions in the group.
In the second Group B match today, Vietnam missed their chance to stay at the top when they were unable to score more goals.
Myanmar, which had limited Australia to a 3-1 win yesterday, allowed only two goals through today. In fact, Myanmar missed several opportunities or they could have walked away with full points.
Tran Van Tu opened the accounts for Vietnam in the ninth minute but Myanmar had a number of attempts which could have levelled the score which remained until the break.
Myanmar’s untiring efforts paid off in the 24th minute when Pyae Phyo Maung bagged the equaliser.
Their joy was shortlived when Van Tu blasted a second just four minutes later. Myanmar gave it their all but failed to get any of their shots through.
Group B: Australia bt Philippines 13-0, Vietnam bt Myanmar 2-1
Group A: Singapore vs Brunei (4.30pm), Thailand vs Malaysia (7pm)
Group B: Philippines vs Vietnam (11.30am), Laos vs Australia (2pm)
Group A: Malaysia vs Timor Leste (4.30pm), Brunei vs Thailand (7pm)
Group B: Myanmar vs Laos (11.30am), Vietnam vs Australia (2pm)
Group A: Singapore vs Malaysia (4.30pm), Thailand vs Timor Leste (7pm)