VIENTIANE (10 May 2017) – Thailand took firm control of Group A of the Under-15 Girls’ Championship here in Vientiane after picking up the full points against two of their biggest opponents in the group.
After beating Vietnam 1-0 in the opening game two days earlier, the Thais went on to beat Myanmar by the same score line this afternoon at the KM16 National Stadium.
The other teams in the group are Laos and Malaysia, who this evening saw the hosts chalking up a grand 5-2 win over the latter. The win was Laos’ first full points following their 2-1 loss to Myanmar in their first game.
While many expected a cracker in the first game of the afternoon, it was obvious that the Thais were just too organised to be caught off guard by a well-intent Myanmar side.
They began strongly with a double chance from Phonchita Thaenprathum that came off the upright while moments later Myanmar keeper Htet Eindra Lin made a fine save to deny them.
But their continued hardwork by putting more people at the centre of the park, saw Myanmar having to back pedal for much of the opening first half.
And in the 19th minute, Thailand finally broke the deadlock when Kolchaphon Niilaor headed in the cross from Thaenprathum.
Kolchaphon got another chance two minutes later to double the advantage for Thailand but her attempt rocked the woodwork yet again.
Myanmar tried to get their act together as they look for the spaces in between the Thai midfield and the backline. But their lack of support for striker Myat Noe Khin upfront saw them struggling to get into the Thai box.
The best Noe Khin could muster was an excellent volley in the 37th minute that almost caught Thai custodian Ponpimon Ngoenphon flat-footed.
The second half saw Thailand not pushing too hard to add to the scoreline as they swamped the midfield to cut off the supply to Noe Khin. And in the end, it was enough for them to score their second win in two matches and a place in the semi-finals beckon.
In the meantime, Laos picked up their first full points of the competition when they beat Malaysia 5-2 in the second game of the day.
The home team was eager to make up for the disappointment of losing to Myanmar two days earlier, and they did not take too long to find the opener when captain Kemmy Phatdala turned her marker in the third minute of play before shooting past Malaysian keeper Siti Noor Maslinah Asiruddin.
Just two minutes later, Laos went up again when Lanoy Vongsingkham made good on a cross from Kemmy.
But the fitter Malaysian girls did not give up and they duly came into the game in the 18th minute with Hellma Emily Joinin finishing the good work of Flori Jobindang and Ayuna Lamsin from the right.
The score at the end of the first half was 3-1 when Laos won a penalty that was converted by Lanoy.
The game went up a gear in the second half as both teams tried to get into the score sheet.
Laos nailed their fourth goal of the game in the 43rd minute with Phonethip Phommachanh firing in from 20metres before Malaysia grabbed their second goal off Nur Syafinaz Abdul Rajak’s seemingly weak effort that beat Laos custodian Bangon Phonexay.
The change for Laos reserve keeper Phetlavanh Xaiyaphetdala soon after saved the day for Laos as she made a string of saves to deny the Malaysians.
A second penalty right at the end – which Lanoy failed to convert – gave the Malaysians some hope of getting back into the game.
But that aspiration for the point was not enough for a revival as Phonethip fired in from a tight angle for the final score line.
GROUP A – 10 May 2017
Thailand 1 Myanmar 0
Laos 5 Malaysia 2
GROUP B – 11 May 2017
1600: Indonesia vs Singapore
1830: Cambodia vs Philippines