YANGON (12 Sept 2017) – The 1-1 draw on the day was enough for Malaysia to win Group A of the AFF Under-18 Championship as Thailand make the next round as runners-up.
With both teams already qualified to the next round, the match today would decide the group winner and in turn will see which team will play first and against which team from the other group.
“I thought that we did well even though we were quite bad in the first half,” said Nik Akif Syahiran Nik Mat. “It does not matter who we play against in the semi-finals We just have to prepare well.”
With the sun bearing down, the pace of the game took a slow turn right from the start as both teams suffered under the sweltering heat.
Few chances were created and with the fact that both teams need not push too hard for the win, the game was not as explosive as it would have been under different circumstances.
The game only came alive in the second half with Malaysia getting on to the score sheet first in the 49th minute when substitute Muhammad Nurfais Johari crossed in for Nik Akif to blast the ball in beyond the reach of keeper Kantaphat Manpati.
But the Thais maintained their composure and kept pressing their opponents in search of the equaliser. And it did not take them long to do just that.
An innocuous freekick from Naravit Kaosantia in the 63rd minute was kneed into goal by captain Kritsada Kaman.
Back on level terms, the match did not actually went off the handle as both teams while in search of the winner, still maintained a certain hold on the backline and were not risking too much.
“It was a fair result. Both teams played well,” said Kritsada. “In the semi-finals, it does not matter who we play against.”
In the meantime, Timor Leste ended their campaign this year on third after beating Singapore 3-1 to pick up their second win.
Timor Leste’s goals were scored by Lourenco Ximenes in the 25th minute, Orcelio Da Silva (39th) and Expedito Conceicao (78th), while the goal scorer for Singapore was Muhammad Rafiqin Kamal (34th).
In the other game in the group, Cambodia beat Laos 4-1 with goals from Tray Vicheth in the 16th minute, Teat Kimheng (43rd), Phoenix Oy (75th) and Sieng Chanthea (78th).
Laos only goal of the game came off Bounphachan Bounkong in the 20th minute.
RESULTS – GROUP A
Thailand 1 Malaysia 1
Timor Leste 3 Singapore 1
Laos 1 Cambodia 4
FIXTURES – GROUP B
13 Sept 2017 – Thuwunna Stadium
1500: Brunei DS vs Indonesia
1800: Myanmar vs Vietnam
STANDINGS (as at 12 Sept 2017)