Australia set-up a repeat of last year’s final against Thailand when they hammered Malaysia 6-2 in the AFF Futsal Championship semi-final match at the Bangkok Arena tonight.
“With two players suspended, obviously we had to change things around,” said Australian coach Robert Marrella. “It is good to be in the final again. And we are looking forward to playing against hosts Thailand. It will be a good experience for the boys whatever is the outcome.”
Thailand, the reigning champions, had earlier booked their place in the final after beating Vietnam 6-0 in the first semi-final game of the day.
Although without their suspended skipper Gregory Giovenali and Glen Kelshaw, the Aussies, runners-up in last year’s AFF Futsal Championship, were still a formidable side. Any hopes the Malaysians had of taking advantage of the missing duo fizzled out once the game started.
By the ninth minute, Nathan Niski cracked the Malaysian goal. Daniel Fogarty then helped himself to two quick goals, in the 10th and 13th minutes. Just prior to that, Malaysia’s Mohd Khairul Effendy Mohd Bahrin smashed his shot into the right post.
Australia could have notched a few more goals if not for some good work from keeper Mohd Firdaus Razali. The Malaysians tried hard to get back into the game but failed to convert their chances in front of goal.
In was much the same story in the second half with Australia making better use of their chances and adding three more goals. The Malaysians were the first on the scoresheet in the second half with Muhammad Akmal Yazadh Amri scoring in the first minute of the second half.
Cooper then added two more goals in the 28th and 32nd minutes as Australia then nailed their final goal of the night from Jarrod Basger in the 36th minute.
“We created a lot of chances but it is no point if we can’t score,” said Malaysian coach Marcelo Serpa. “But the boys never gave up and against Vietnam, we are expecting more of the same. It will be another tough game for sure.”
Meanwhile, in the earlier semifinal clash, Thailand turned up the heat in the second half to deliver a stunning performance against Vietnam to advance to the final. In front of a capacity crowd of 12,000 at the Bangkok Arena, the Thais charged into the final with a 6-0 win today.
Vietnam, who started without No.1 keeper Phung Trong Luan and Ngo Dinh Thuan, who were both suspended for this game, were all over their rivals and restricted their movements. Still, the Thais managed to sneak in several shots, and they even came close. Despite their best efforts, they failed to split the goal and headed to the dressing room scoreless.
After the break, Thailand slowly broke down the Vietnamese defence and eventually opened the accounts to the delight of the fans. Jirawat Sornwichian pounced on a defensive error to score in the 29th minute. A minute later, Nattavut blasted Thailand further ahead.
It was third goal which broke the Vietnamese spirits after Suphawut intercepted a pass during power play and hit it into an open goal. Suphawut went on to score two more goals for a hattrick (38th, 39th), while Nattavut and Jetsada Chudech had one each in the 32nd and 39th minutes.
Thailand bt Vietnam 6-0
Australia bt Malaysia 6-2
FINAL (Oct 16, Bangkok Arena)
3-4thPlayoff: Vietnam vs Malaysia
Final: Thailand vs Australia