With this in mind, the Laos players, backed by over 12,000 fans, went for the kill from the start and walked away with a 3-1 win to qualify for the semi-finals.
Laos will likely face Vietnam in the crossover semifinals but this will only be confirmed aftertomorrow’s last Group B matches. Thailand, who earlier this evening whipped Cambodia 6-0, will either meet Malaysia or Myanmar in the other semi-final clash.
Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar are all tied on seven points. The outcome of the Vietnam-Myanmar match tomorrow evening will determine which two teams advance to the last four.
Prior to tonight’s match, Laos were third in the standings, with Thailand at the top and Cambodia second. But with the three points fromtonight’s win, Laos elevated themselves to second and book their place in the last four.
Laos were pumped up and wasted no time trying to get the opening goal. To the delight of the fans, defender Mar Vincent Diano inadvertently turned the ball into his own net. Minutes later, Piyaphong Pathammavong, doubled the score with a smashing shot from close range.
There were more celebrations in the stands and the bench as Piyapong was on target yet again in the 37th minute. The three goals later proved to be enough to secure their victory. The Philippines pulled one back in the 71st minute through Mark Anthony Winhoffer.
The goal inspired the Filipinos and they started pushing hard in search of more goals. They had several close calls from Mathew Custodio, Dimitri Limbo and substitute Chima Uzoka but none of their shots were on target.
Laos coach, Phan Ton Loi said his team had the perfect first half. “It really was perfect. We needed to win and we managed to get three goals. But in the second half, some of the players started to get tired. Still, I’m happy with the outcome and that we have qualified for the semifinals.”
“It does not matter who we meet in the semifinals, we will give it our best,” said Ton Loi.
Thailand 6 Cambodia 0
Laos 3 Philippines 1
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