Thailand became the first team in the AFF Under-19 Championship to book their place in the semi-finals after defeating Brunei 6-0 at the National Sports Complex Stadium here today.
The Thais have been unbeaten thus far and have made the cut with a match to spare. With three victories including earlier wins over Laos and the Philippines, place Thailand comfortably at the top of Group A with nine points. Cambodia, who edged the Philippines 1-0 in an earlier game this evening, are second with seven points. Laos are third with four. Both Laos and Cambodia are vying for the remaining semis slot from the group.
Tonight, Thai coach Anuruck Srikerd, as expected, fielded mainly reserves. Thailand were also without two suspended players – team skipper Worachit Kanitsribumphen and striker Anon Amornlertsak who had to sit this match out.
Midfielder Sansern Limwatthana, clearly one of the better players in this tournament, took over as the captain and proved his ability soon after the match started. He led the Thai charge and almost scored the opener in the 12th minute but his fiery freekick from the top of the box was punched out by keeper Muhammad Ishyra.
Several minutes later, Sirapop Saardeim’s freekick slipped over the bar. The Thais began to encircle the Brunei goal as they hunted down the goal. Unable to break through, Sansern’s sizzler from way outside the box rammed into goal.
Thailand pressed on and during an attack in the 26th minute, Muhammad Rahimin Abdul Ghani inadvertently headed the ball into his own net at the far post.
After the break, Thailand kept up the heat and continued their search for goals. They eventually hammered four goals through Nithipat Boriboonwat (53rd), Wisarut Imura (72nd and 89th) and Supachai Chaided.
The Thais will face Cambodia in their final match in two days while Brunei have completed their preliminary fixtures without any points.
Philippines 0 Cambodia 1
Brunei 0 Thailand 6
Aug 29 (Group B)
4.00pm: Singapore vs Vietnam
7.00pm: Malaysia vs Myanmar
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