A double from striker Tran Manh Quynh gave hosts Vietnam a hard earned 3-0 win over Singapore in the final game of the evening of Group B of the AFF Under-18 Next Media Cup 2019 that was played at the Binh Duong Stadium.
With Australia having beaten Thailand 3-1 earlier at the same venue and Malaysia making short work of Cambodia 3-0 across town at the Thanh Long Stadium, the win for the hosts ensure that they are still within fighting chance of making the semifinals of the championship this year.
After three matches, Vietnam have picked up six points from their win tonight and also the 1-0 victory they scored in their first game in the group against Malaysia. Their only loss was against Australia.
“It was by no means an easy match, but the players stayed to the strategy which has been set to pick up the full points,” said Vietnam head coach Hoang Anh Tuan.
It did not take Vietnam long to settle down and soon they were pushing Singapore into their own half as they look for the early goal.
But after some early misses from Vo Nguyen Hoang, Bui Tien Sinh and Nguyen Kim Nhat, they finally got the goal they were looking for in the 29th minute when Manh Quynh came barrelling down the left before turning a defender to shoot past Singapore keeper Prathip Ekamparam.
Just two minutes after the restart, Nguyen Hoang finally made the scoresheet when he chested down a cross from the centre before unleashing a shot past two defenders for Vietnam’s second goal of the game.
Singapore’s introduction of Abdul Rasaq Ishiekwene in place of Muhammad Danish Zulkarnaen gave them options but it could not inspire them past a stubborn Vietnam defence.
The hosts the finished things off in the 63rd minute with Man Quaynh’s second goal of the game with a header from close after Singapore custodian Prathip managed to fend off the earlier attempts.
In the meantime, Australia survived a first half onslaught from Thailand to pick up the full points from three matches played with a 3-1 win.
“It was not our best game but I am glad that we found a way to win this match. Any other day, if Thailand had their scoring boots on, the score would have been very different,” said Australia head coach Gary Van Egmond after the game.
And the truth was that Thailand should have easily won the game in the first half itself had they muffed the chances they had created.
With Australia struggling under the afternoon sun, the Thais were controlling the match from the get go with Sitthinan Rungrueang testing shot that was blocked by Australian keeper Kai Calderbank-Park.
Two minutes later, it was Nitibodin Makot’s turn to shoot it wide as the Thais continued to be frustrated with the misses all the way through the first 45 minutes as Chiraphong Raksongkham and Achitpol Keereerom fared no better.
And with Guntapon Keereeleang’s effort coming off the upright six minutes after the restart, it gave the impetus for Australia to push forward and ultimately scored the first goal of the game.
A quick counter in the 57th minute down the left saw Jarrod Carluccio squaring for Dylan Ruiz-Diaz to score with some ten minutes later it was the reverse with Ruiz-Diaz feeding for Carluccio.
Ruiz-Diaz then grabbed his second and Australia’s third in the 78th minute when he punished a mistake from Thai keeper Sopowin Rakyart to score.
Thailand finally got the goal they were looking for seven minutes to the end with a curling shot from Natcha Promsomboon. Unfortunately, it came a little late as the score stayed all the way to the end.
On the other hand, Malaysia picked up their second win in three matches when they beat Cambodia 3-0 in the match that was played at the Thong Nhat Stadium.
Cambodia, buoyed by their confidence boosting win over Thailand two days earlier were out for another scalp.
But they would find the Malaysians a totally different proposition as the several mistakes from goalkeeper Vireak Dara would play into the latter’s hand.
Captain Muhammad Mukhain Ajmal Mahadi nailed the opening goal after 18 minute with a stinger from 20metres past a rooted Vireak while some twenty minutes later, his failure to make a clean save allowed Muhd Muslihuddin Atiq Mat Zahid to finish the loose ball.
The Malaysians then rounded off a fine first half with a looping freekick from defender Muhammad Firdaus Ramli.
Cambodia tried to get back into the game in the second half as the Malaysians seem content to sit back and protect the lead which they had carved from a frantic first half.
RESULTS –11 August 2019
Malaysia 3 Cambodia 0
Australia 3 Thailand 1
Singapore 0 Vietnam 3
FIXTURES – 12 August 2019
1530: Indonesia vs Laos – Thong Nhat
1600: Timor Leste vs Philippines – Binh Duong
1900: Brunei DS vs Myanmar – Binh Duong