Both Thailand and Vietnam had to come back from a goal down before they were able to pick up the full points against their respective opponent in the opening day of the AFC Under-23 Championship 2016 qualifiers.
Thailand struck late to beat ASEAN neighbours Cambodia 2-1 at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok while Vietnam edged hosts Malaysia by the same scoreline at the Shah Alam Stadium.
IN BANGKOK, the visiting Cambodians drew first blood on 12 minutes through skipper Prak Mony Udom in the Group G game.
Inpinit Pinyo, who scored a goal in Thailand’s 13-0 romp against Guam during qualifying for the 2012 AFC U-19 Championship, scored his second international goal on 57 minutes to level affairs with Cambodia.
Chenrop Samphaodi, who came off the bench to replace Chayawat Srinawong on 52 minutes, then found Cambodia’s net in second-half stoppage time to rake in all three points from the game.
Thailand, who now sit second in the Group G standings on goal difference below DPR Korea who beat the Philippines 4-0 in the group’s earlier fixture, will take on the Filipinos while Cambodia face DPR Korea on Sunday.
IN SHAH ALAM, Malaysia skipper Nazirul Naim Che Hashim found Vietnam’s net on 34 minutes but Vo Huy Toan leveled matters just four minutes later.
Vietnam then took the lead as Nguyen Cong Phuong scored what would prove to be the decisive goal on 44 minutes.
The Vietnamese sit second in the table below Japan who defeated Macau 7-0 in the group’s opening fixture.
Toshiya Miura-led Vietnam will face off against Japan while Malaysia will take on Macau in their second matches on Sunday.
Ten group winners and five best second-placed teams from all groups will join hosts Qatar at the AFC U-23 Championship 2016, with January’s 16-team competition also serving as Asia’s qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games in Rio.