SURABAYA (3 Aug 2018) – Malaysia picked up their full points in Group A of the AFF Under-16 Championship following their 6-1 demolition of Brunei DS in the second match of the day at the Joko Samudro Stadium.
Needing the win to put their campaign back on track after losing their opener against Thailand five days ago, the Malaysians were determined at the start with a quick goal from Muhammad Asman Asrul Sulkarnain’s grounder.
“The players lacked the pace but these players that we have need the playing time,” said Malaysian head coach Raja Azlan Shah.
“They still lacked pace and this is something which we need to work on especially with the reserves coming in.”
While the Malaysian team has a few quality individuals, it was obvious that they lacked understanding and that led to them struggling for long periods.
And with Brunei being pushed much into their own half; it took the Malaysians up until the 27th minute before they were able to score their second goal of the game through Muhammad Fahmi Mohd Zaaim.
A third goal just two minutes before the half off Mohamad Ikhwan Mohd Hafizo put the score at 3-0 to Malaysia’s advantage.
The second half carried on in much the same manner as the first as Malaysia went on to score two more goals through Harith Naem Jaineh (45th minute) and Muhammad Asman (50th) before a change for Brunei reserve custodian Abdul Taufik Talip stemmed the onslaught.
That gave Brunei confidence and in the 79th minute, they duly earned a penalty that was converted by Mohammad Eddy Omar after Malaysian keeper Abdul Alim Ali was penalised for a fault on Mohammad Nazry Azman inside the box.
But the Malaysians still finished the night on top with their sixth goal of the game from Muhammad Danial Amali.
“We tried to match them and that was important especially how we played in the second half,” said Brunei head coach Stephen Ng.
In the meantime, Thailand seemed poised to win Group A after sidestepping Singapore 3-1 to confirm their place in the semi-finals in the match that was played earlier at the same venue.
Despite making several changes to the side that played in the last two winning line-up, the Thais were still just a tad too strong for Singapore, even though the latter fought hard to keep the score down.
“We made some changes to the line-up, some rotation but it was obvious that it was not working,” said Thailand head coach Thongchai Rungreang afterwards.
“We need to work on the tempo of the team. The players need to know when to do the change-ups.”
Opting to rest the likes of Sitthinan Rungrueang, Jakkrapong Sanmahung and Thanarin Thumsen took the edge of Thailand somewhat as their attacking forte lacked their usual fluidity.
But even at half their usual pace and aggression, Thailand were still too technically better than Singapore when they carved out the lead in the 13th minute wjth Apidet Janngam providing the lead to give Thanakrit Laorka the easiest of finish from close.
Singapore keeper Dylan Goh had to work double time to block a series of attempts as they rarely trouble the Thai backline throughout the first half encounter.
As Thailand added their second goal of the tie in the 28th minute with Kittiphong Khetpara punishing a hesitant Singapore defending, the latter realised that they needed to be stronger and more forceful after the break.
And they just that as they look for the spaces to go forward where in the 69th minute a freekick from Ong Yu En was headed into goal by Chua Ming Xuan.
Two minutes to the end, Thailand grabbed their third goal of the game with a quick counter from Thodsawat Aungkongrat who made a fine finish after running down the left.
“The gap between us and Thailand was obvious,” said Singapore head coach Ryo Shigaki.
“We lost to them (the same Thai side) twice before this but I am glad that the players were not defensive but instead tried to match their opponents.”
3 Aug 2018 – Group B
Thailand 3 Singapore 1
Malaysia 6 Brunei DS 1
4 Aug 2018 – Group A
1500: Philippines vs Vietnam (Joko Samudro Stadium)
1530: Myanmar vs Cambodia (Delta Sidoarjo Stadium)
1900: Indonesia vs Timor Leste (Delta Sidoarjo Stadium)