Defending champions Thailand, as expected, booked their place in the semi-finals while Malaysia, who outplayed Timor Leste, moved a step closer to claiming the last available spot in the last four of the AFF Futsal Championship at the Bangkok Arena.
The Thais hardly raised a sweat as they brushed aside Brunei 12-2 for their third straight win. The victory also ensured Thailand qualified for the Asian Futsal Championships in Uzbekistan next year. The top four teams in the AFF Futsal here will qualify for the Asian meet.
Earlier today, Australia and Vietnam booked their places in the last four.
Malaysia and Timor Leste were both in the running to finish second behind the Thais and earn the other semi-final ticket from their group. In the end, Malaysia prevailed 7-2 and will now need to beat Singapore in their last group match tomorrow evening to complete the cast for the semifinals.
The Malaysians were locked in a do-or-die battle with Timor Leste to see which team would advance. Once the game started, the Malaysians immediately went for the kill and soon enough found the opener through Akmarulnizam Mohd Idris in the very first minute.
The early goal fired up the Malaysians and they kept up the pressure. Soon after, Muhamad Fitri Muhamad Yatim sneaked in his shot in the sixth minute to double the score. As Malaysia piled on the pressure, Ivan Jerry Alves inadvertently turned the ball into his own goal minutes from the half.
Machel Antonio Carvalho quickly revived the team’s confidence when he converted a spot kick two minutes from halftime to put the score at 3-1.
After the break, Malaysia managed to pick up four more goals, which were courtesy of Fitri (22nd), Saiful Nizam Mohd Ali (34th), Saiful Aula Ahmad (37th) and Ahmad Fawzul Hadzir Mohamad (39th). Timor Leste struck back once through Remigio Duarte (22nd).
In the last match of the night, Jetsada Chudech thrilled the packed stadium with his exceptional skills and scoring ability. At the end of a brilliant performance, Jetsada helped himself to five goals. Skipper Kritsada Wongkaeo got the show on the road with the opening goal and then Jetsada took over, scoring in the 5th, 8th, 15th, 16th and 39th (pen).
Thailand notched their other goals through Ampol Wangsama-Aeo (10th) and Suphawut Thueanklang (14th, 25th, 35th). Brunei stunned the home fans by breaking through the seemingly impenetrable Thai defence twice through Maziri Maidin (26th) and Azizan Roslan (38th).
Meanwhile, during this afternoon’s session, Australia and Vietnam cruised into the semi-finals after securing double-digit results against Laos and the Philippines. The Aussies raced away with a 15-2 win while the Vietnamese recorded the biggest result of the tournament when they hammered the Philippines 19-1.
Today’s results were also great news for Australia and Vietnam as they have secured their places in the Asian Futsal Championships in Uzbekistan next year. This year’s AFF Futsal is a qualifying competition where the four top teams here will make the cut for the Asian event.
Australia, runners-up in last year’s AFF Futsal, will square off with Vietnam tomorrow to decide the final group positions, which will in turn determine their opponents in the crossover semifinalson Wednesday. Both will aim to win to avoid a premature meeting with favourites Thailand.
In today’s first match, Vietnam had two players with hattricks – Pham Duc Hoa (7th), 17th, 25th) and Nguyen Bao Can (21st, 31st, 32nd).
The other goals came from Le Quoc Nam (21st, 27th), Vu Xuan Du (26th, 30th), Nguyen Minh Tri (21st, 31st), Duong Anh Tung (11th), Ngo Ngoc Son (27th), Tran Van Vu (34th), Phuong Trong Luan (36th) and Danh Phat (40th). The Philippines netted an own goal in the second half while Lorenzo Hermosa was on target in the 25th minute.
Australia took on Laos in the second game and easily collected full points. Daniel Fogarty scored in the third minute and went on to be the top scorer with four goals (23rd, 23rd, 40th). Wade Giovenali was their three-goal hero, reeling in the hattrick within a space of seven minutes (6th, 12th, 13th). The other names on the scoresheet were Shervin Keshavarz (1st, 13th), Glen Kelshaw (28th, 29th), Gregory Giovenali (16th, 30th) and Dean Lockhart (36th, 37th).
Laos surprised with two goals from Inpan Keomanixay and Soulichanh Phasawaeng in the 29thand 39th minutes.
Group B: Vietnam bt Philippines 19-1, Australia bt Laos 14-2
Group A: Malaysia bt Timor Leste 7-2, Thailand bt Brunei 12-2
Group B: Myanmar vs Laos (11.30am), Vietnam vs Australia (2pm)
Group A: Singapore vs Malaysia (4.30pm), Thailand vs Timor Leste (7pm)
Note: In case of same points, the head-to-head battle between the two teams will be used
Team in BOLD qualify for the semi-finals