Hosts Laos put up a brave fight before going down 2-1 to Thailand in a Group A match of the AFF Under-19 Championship at the National Sports Complex Stadium here tonight. Thailand snatched a two-goal lead in the first half but Laos charged back after the break and almost surprised their rivals.
Thailand romped ahead with superb goals from Jakkit Wachpirom in the ninth and 35th minutes before Sinthanong Phanvongsa hauled Laos back into the game with a sensational strike in the 71st minute. Laos could have walked away with a memorable result if not for Maitee’s close miss in the dying minutes.
Thai coach, Anuruck Srikerd said that his players had a great first half. “It was a good game with high pressure, both sides did well. My boys had a good first half but they are all not yet fully fit. I would like to thank the fans who turned up to support this match.”
In today’s match, Thailand wasted no time in getting on with the game. From the start, the Thais exploded off the blocks and began testing the Laos defence, especially down the right. The speedy Jakkit broke through the defence and had a crack but it went wide. In the ninth minute, he once again forced his way through and this time unleashed a screamer which the keeper could not save.
Jakkit along with Ritthidet Phensawat and Anon Amornlertsak were constantly hovering around the box and moved around effectively to confuse the Laos defence. Realising the danger caused by the Thai strikers, the Laos defenders did their best to close down on them. But they could only do so much to stop them. In the 35th minute, Jakkit cut across the box, from the right, and let loose a crisp left-footed shot to double the score.
Laos strkers, Maitee and Sayfa Aphideth, managed to sneak through on several occasions but were unable to get their shots in.
In the second half, the Laos players pulled their act together and steadily began to peel away at the Thai goal. Their efforts paid off handsomely in the 71st minute when Somsavath Sophabmixay charged down the right flank, cut in and send a low cross in. Sinthavong raced in and smashed it home. The 8,000 primarily Laos fans, who had been quiet for most of the night, suddenly erupted into a massive roar.
A few minutes later, the stadium exploded again, but only briefly. The fans cheered when they saw the ball land in the Thai goal again, however the referee had already blown for an infringement against the goalkeeper.
“We changed the team today compared to the one which played against Cambodia. We also changed the formation. The Thais were strong but we played better in the second half. It was good fight. We have two more games now and must aim to win both.” said coach Phan Ton Loi.
Cambodia 5 Brunei 1
Laos 1 Thailand 2
Aug 25 (Group B)
4.00pm: Timor Leste vs Vietnam
7.00pm: Malaysia vs Singapore
Aug 26 (Group A)
4.00pm: Laos vs Brunei
7.00pm: Thailand vs Philippines
Aug 27 (Group B)
4.00pm: Vietnam vs Malaysia
7.00pm: Myanmar vs Timor Leste
Aug 28 (Group A)
4.00pm: Philippines vs Cambodia
7.00pm: Brunei vs Thailand
Aug 29 (Group B)
4.00pm: Malaysia vs Myanmar
7.00pm: Singapore vs Vietnam
Aug 30 (Group A)
4.00pm: Thailand vs Cambodia
7.00pm: Laos vs Philippines
Aug 31 (Group B)
4.00pm: Timor Leste vs Singapore
7.00pm: Myanmar vs Vietnam
Note: For full fixtures and details, please go to www.aseanfootball.org