SURABAYA (7 Aug 2018) – Lucky, lucky Malaysia made the semi-finals of the AFF Under-16 Championship – courtesy of an own goal that gave them a 1-0 win over Laos this afternoon here at the Joko Samudro Stadium.
“The players worked hard today and after getting the goal, they defended well and hard,” said Malaysian head coach Raja Azlan Shah.
“This is also part of our preparation for the game against Indonesia as we know that we have to play a hard defensive tie. But it is a game which we must play.”
With the Malaysians needing to win the match outright for them to book their place in the semi-finals, it was no surprise that they took the early initiative to press their opponent from the onset.
Just four minutes in, a cross from Muhammad Fahmi Daniel was knocked into goal by unsuspecting Laos defender Anantaza Siphongphan.
That early goal rocked Laos as they were now playing under pressure – having to look for the equaliser to ensure their passage to the next round.
But the Malaysians were just too steady in defending with goalkeeper Abdul Alim Amri Ali rarely making a misstep the whole day long.
Even with the pacey Chony Wenpaserth in their midst, Laos just could not get close enough with their best effort in the 59th minute coming off Malaysian defender Megat Syafique Syazwan Mohd Khairul.
As Laos continued to be frustrated, Malaysia had to play with a man less when Muhammad Fahmi Daniel Mohd Zaaim was sent off after picking up two yellow cards.
“That early own goal affected us and after that we were playing under pressure,” added Laos head coach Kanlaya Sysomvang.
In the meantime, Singapore completed the Group A fixtures with a 5-0 thrashing of Brunei DS in the second game of the day at the Joko Samudro Stadium.
It was engaging battle in the first half before Singapore broke the deadlock with two quick goals from Chua Ming Xuan in the 52nd and 53rd minute.
The rest of the Singapore goals were scored by Muhammad Rukalfi Juraimin in the 59th and 78th minute to be followed by substitute K. Dashan in the 80th minute.
7 Aug 2018 – Group B
Laos 0 Malaysia 1
Singapore 5 Brunei DS 0
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS