Australia made the semi-finals of the AFF Under-18 Next Media Cup 2019 in style when they whitewashed Singapore 5-0 in their final Group B tie as Malaysia had Cambodia to thank for their passage despite losing 1-0 to Thailand across town at the Thanh Long Stadium.
Hosts Vietnam, who needed to beat Cambodia by at least half a dozen goals, found things hard going at the Thong Nhat Stadium when they fell to a 2-1 loss to the latter.
With the last three matches in Group B played concurrently Vietnam would find it tricky against Cambodia where they needed to deliver not only a win but also by a certain number of goals to make the next round.
And while they came close on several occasions, they just could not make them count as Cambodia the punished them with their first goal of the game ten minutes into the second half through captain Sieng Chanthea.
Even under more pressure, Vietnam pushed men forward but they only got the equalizing goal right at the end in the 90th minute.
However, the drama is by no means over yet as Cambodia were quick on the rebound for Thy Lieng to score the winning goal right at the death.
With the win, Cambodia finished their campaign this year on fourth while Vietnam remained on third.
At the Binh Duong Stadium, an unmotivated Singapore side just went through the motions for Australia to coast to a 5-0 victory.
The score at the end of the first half was 3-0 off goals from Fabian Andres Monge (23rd minute) and Dylan Ruiz-Diaz (35th and 39th minute).
The Australians then added two more goals after the break, off Thomas Lachlan Fay in the 73rd minute and then Ruiz-Diaz completing his hat trick in the 78th minute.
The comprehensive victory allowed Australia to win Group B as Singapore finished sixth.
At the Thang Long Stadium, Thailand played perhaps their best game to date with some creative play to eke out a slim 1-0 win over Malaysia.
With the Malaysians playing it defensive, the Thais created a hatful of chances only for their strikers to muff them all.
It was not until the 69th minute that Thailand finally broke through off substitute striker Sitthinan Rungrueang.
The win allowed Thailand to finish fifth in the final group standings as the Malaysians count their lucky stars they still managed to make the next round of the championship.
RESULTS –15 August 2019
Malaysia 0 Thailand 1
Singapore 0 Australia 5
Vietnam 1 Cambodia 2
- Teams in bold qualify for semifinals