Laos beat Malaysia 2-1 to pick up their first win in Group B of the AFF Under-23 Championship 2022 here this afternoon at the Prince Stadium.
“It is certainly big news as it is not often that we beat Malaysia. It is a big surprise,” said Laos head coach Michael Weiss.
“It was 50-50 in the first half and we should have made good on the chances that we had. It will be a different game in the second match as there will not be an underestimation from the Malaysians.”
With the match played under the blistering heat, it was Laos who took the early initiatives through the experience of duo Bounphachan Bounkong and Chony Waenpaseuth.
On the other hand, the Malaysians seemed disjointed at times as they struggled to put two passes together.
However, it was the Malaysians who went ahead first just before the break when A. Selvan scored from the far post after the Laos backline failed to clear a corner.
Unrattled, Laos went into the second half stronger and just eleven minutes in, a defensive lapse allowed Bounphachan to fire in the equaliser.
And after some sustained pressure against a clearly struggling Malaysian side, Laos nailed the winner in the 79th minute when Phetdavanh Somsanid headed in the freekick.
“Several Laos players played at the AFF Suzuki Cup and also the recent AFC U23 qualifiers. We had six players making their international debut today,” said Malaysian head coach Brad Maloney.
“We are trailing by a goal going into the second game. It will not be easy.”
With just two teams in the group, Laos and Malaysia will play each other again on 21 February 2022 to decide which team will make the passage to the semifinals of the championship this year.
AFF U23 CHAMPIONSHIP 2022
GROUP B – PRINCE STADIUM
18 February 2022
Laos 2-1 Malaysia
GROUP C – PRINCE STADIUM
19 February 2022
1900hrs: Singapore vs Vietnam
Pictures Courtesy @Sportfive