GREAT START FOR THAILAND AND VIETNAM
HO CHI MINH CITY (4 August 2009) – Thailand and Vietnam got just the start they wanted in the AFF Under-19 Championship as they each picked up full points over their respective opponents to put them on a confident mood for their second match in two days.In Group A, Thailand sidestepped Cambodia 3-0 as Singapore held Australia to a 1-1 draw in the other match of the day.In Group B, hosts Vietnam edged Malaysia 2-0 while for Myanmar they were awarded with a 3-0 win for a walkover following the failure of Timor Leste to turn up for their tie.But the rain which has been steadily hitting the city for the past week affected the quality of the matches being played.
At the Thong Nhat Stadium, the Thais who have been steadily building up to this tournament over the last two weeks, scored their first goal of the game in the 41st minute through Adisak Krisorn for the 1-0 lead at the half.But Cambodia held fast after the break but as the match wore on under constant Thai pressure, their desperation saw defender Thong Oudom being red carded in the 57th minute.
With the advantage, Sarach Yooyen then carved the second goal for Thailand in the 73rd minute before Natthawut Khamrin wrapped things up with the third and final goal of the evening six minutes to the end.Hosts Vietnam found Malaysia a hard nut to crack in the first half and only prised open their opponent’s defence two minutes after the break through Nguyen Dinh Bao.In the match that saw a flurry of cards being flashed, Vietnam captain Nguyen Van Quyet then sealed the points for the homesters with the second goal just a minute after the hour mark.
Over at the Thang Long Mini Stadium, it was Australia who created the first real chance of the game when in the fifth minute, Joshua McVey took a shot from close range which was parried by Singapore custodian Neezam Abdul Razak.Neezam was again in his element four minutes later as this time he blocked Cameron Edwards’ attempt for a futile corner.
Singapore’s best chance of the half was in the 12th minute but striker Khairul Nizam Kamal could not beat Australian keeper Mark Birighitti.In the 20th minute of play, Australia finally went in front when McVey delivered a cross for the unmarked Eli Babalj to head home from close range.The game went into higher after that but it failed to change the scoreline at the break.Singapore came out stronger in the second half and in the 65th minute, they finally found the equaliser when an incisive pass from Syafiq Zainal was picked up by Khairul Nizam who blasted it past Birighitti for the well-deserved equaliser.
In the 78th minute, Mohd Shakir hamzah was red carded for an off the ball incident against Australia’s McVey.“We created a lot of chances in the first half and we should have scored several goals,” said Johannes Versleijen, the head coach for Australia.Replied Salim Moin, the head coach for Singapore: “we were better in the second half and if it had not been for the red card, perhaps we could have won the match.”In the meantime, Myanmar picked up the full three points without having to kick a ball when Timor Leste failed to make it to the game.
The Timorese will arrive only later in the night.
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