Thailand showed that they have the quality to retain the crown they won last year when they crushed Australia 5-1 in the crucial game of Group B of the AFF Vietcombank Under-19 Championship that was played at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Centre.
“The players played with a lot of heart and they were disciplined in sticking to the gameplan that has been decided,” said Thai coach Anuruck Srikerd afterwards.
In the eagerly anticipated tie of the group, Australia again made several positional changes as Thailand chose to play with basically the same side which they had used in the last few matches.
And it did not take long Australia to carve the lead where after Liam Rose unable to make good on a one-to-one situation, George Blackwood grabbed the lead in the 13th minute with a solo effort from inside the box to beat Thai keeper Chakorn Philaklong.
But Thailand maintained their composure and they did not stutter for the 17th minute equaliser with Arthit Kansangwet providing for Sowarit Panthong as he slammed the ball past Australian keeper Jasmin Keranovic.
And three minutes before the break Supachai Chaided nailed the first of his three goals on the night after robbing the ball from Australian defender Patrick Flottmann.
Supachai then grabbed goal No.2 in the 59th minute after receiving a long ball from deep off Wisarut Imura and then completing his hat-trick in the 82nd minute with a delightful chip over Keranovic.
And then deep in injury time, Thai striker Worachit Kanitsribumphen dealt Australia with the fifth goal of the game when he blocked the ball from Keranovic before slotting into an empty goal.
In the meantime the Indonesians, who were making their return to youth football competition following the recent lifting of the ban by FIFA, was determined not to make the same mistakes as they had done in their first three matches of the competition.
“It was a much better performance as we managed to minimise mistakes,” said Indonesian captain Andy Nugroho.
“We were better in the defence and also in the attack. I believe that we can be even better than this.”
A lot more composed, Indonesia cracked open the Laos defence in the 20th minute with Saddil Ramdani running down the left before squaring the ball for Pandi Ahmad Lestaluhu.
Four minutes later, Laos drew level when a cross from Thanin Phanthavong was headed home by Vanna Bounlovongsa.
The score stood at 2-1 at the break with the positioning in reverse as Pandi Ahmad sets up for Saddil to score.
Laos were more vigorous into the attack in the second half as Indonesia were more determined at the back while at the same time looking for the chances to add to the scoreline.
Asnawi Bahar rocked the crossbar at the hour mark while some time later, Muhammad Alwi Slamat muffed the through ball.
Four minutes to the end, substitute striker Muhammad Rafli slammed home the third goal making good on the long cross from Satria Wardana.
Earlier, Myanmar did not repeat the mistakes they made two days earlier against Laos when they beat Cambodia 3-0.
With Cambodia a stark shadow of themselves from the first game, a defensive error from Ouk Sovann in the 21st minute before Myanmar’s Thet Paing doubled the advantage nine minutes later.
Naing Win then rounded the win for Myanmar with the third goal of the game in the 50th minute.
Cambodia 0 Myanmar 3
Laos 1 Indonesia 3
Australia 1 Thailand 5
FIXTURES (19 Sept 2016)
At the Vietnam Youth Football Training Centre
1900: Singapore vs Timor Leste
At the Hang Day Stadium
1900: Malaysia vs Vietnam