| VIENTIANE (4 Dec 2009) – A hat-trick from striker Sompong Soleb saw Thailand winning their first three points of the men’s football competition when they romped over Cambodia 4-0 at the Chao Anu Vong Stadium.
The Thais, who were denied the full points two days ago when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Vietnam in their opening Group A match, easily took a 3-0 lead at the break.
The physically stronger Thai side took the first goal of the game in the 19th minute when striker Sompong Soleb headed home from close range off a cross from Arthit Sunthornphit.
And just before the breather, Thailand struck a blitz with two quick goals – the first off a from striker Kirati Keawsombut while the second and Thailand’s third coming off Sompong who made good on a cross from Theerathon Bunmathon.
Just four minutes into the second half, Thailand made sure there was no way back for Cambodia when Sompong completed his hat-trick with the fourth goal with a well-taken grounder.
In the meantime, Vietnam also picked up their first three points in the group when they beat Timor Leste 4-0 in the second match that was played at the Cha Anu Vong Stadium.
Vietnam, who had held Thailand to a 1-1 draw in their first game two days ago, struggled somewhat in the first half as Timor tightened up their defence to put the score all even at 0-0.
The Timorese, who were slugged 11-0 by Malaysia in their opening game, were a lot more composed and restricted Vietnam to several shots from outside the box.
But the break proved to be pivotal as head coach Henrique Calisto’s pep talk must have injected some sense of urgency into Vietnam’s game for them to take the lead in the 54th minute.
Striker Mai Tien Thanh latched on to a cross from Nguyen Ngoc Anh from the right to blast in the lead much to the satisfaction of their fans in red at the stand as they broke out into cheers.
Three minutes later, Vietnam were 2-0 up when Tien Thanh was again in the thick of the action with a shot to the roof of the Timor goal to beat keeper Diamantino for the second time in the game.
And just after the hour mark, Pham Thanh Binh made it three goals for Vietnam with a shot from inside the box before Tien Thanh completed his hat-trick with the fourth goal on 78th minute.
Group A: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Cambodia
Group B: Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia
RESULTS AND FIXTURES
2 Dec (Main Stadium): MALAYSIA 11 TIMOR LESTE 0/ THAILAND 1 VIETNAM 1
4 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): THAILAND 4 CAMBODIA 0/ VIETNAM 4 TIMOR LESTE 0
5 Dec (Main Stadium): Singapore vs Indonesia (1500hrs)/ Laos vs Myanmar (1745hrs)
6 Dec (Main Stadium): Vietnam vs Malaysia (1500hrs)/ Timor Leste vs Cambodia (1745hrs)
7 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Myanmar vs Singapore (1500hrs)/ Indonesia vs Laos (1745hrs)
8 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Timor Leste vs Thailand (1500hrs)/ Cambodia vs Malaysia (1745hrs)
9 Dec: Opening Ceremony
10 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Myanmar vs Indonesia (1500hrs)/ Laos vs Singapore (1745hrs)
11 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Cambodia vs Vietnam (1500hrs)/ Malaysia vs Thailand (1500hrs)
14 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Semi-finals
17 Dec: Third/ Fourth Placing (1500hrs at Chao Anu Vong Stadium)/ FINAL (1700hrs at Main Stadium)