VIENTIANE (4 June 2012) – In a game which saw the action swinging from end to end, Australia claimed a decisive victory over hosts Laos when a clinical finish from Aaron Calver late in the game saw them clinching a 3-2 win on the second match day of the AFF Under-16 Preparatory Tournament this evening at the Laos National Stadium.
With the win, Australia have picked up four points from two matches and are currently placed second at the table. They are on the same points with Japan but the latter lead the standings due to better goal difference.
On third is Laos with three points while Thailand are at the bottom with no points following two losses in two matches.
In the match that was witnessed by more than 5,000 fans, it was Laos who initiated the early attacks. In the 11th minute, Laos almost went forward but while the freekick from Thanin Phantavong might have forced a scrambling block from substitute keeper Lucas Spinella, there was however no one to make a clean finish of the rebound.
The two forwards of Phithack Kongmathilath and Armysay Kettavong worked well in tandem against the Australian defensive line that had also introduced Jeremy Tshongo for the first time in the tournament.
In the 22nd minute, Phithack broke through from the right but after seeing Spinella off his line, he totally muffed the chance presented to him. With Australia not pushing forward hard enough, the score at the end of the first half was 0-0.
Just five minutes into the restart, Laos finally grabbed the lead when Armysay stabbed a melee, following an excellent solo effort from Phithack. But the loss of Armysay just five minutes later would turn the game against them as Australia added more pace by fielding in the nippy Kevin Lap.
Not too long after being introduced, Kevin clinched the equalizer in the 62nd minute when his stiff grounder caught the Laos defence off guard. And ten minutes later, Australia then put their noses in front for the first time in the game off a superb overhead kick from Joshua McDonald.
In the 81st minute, Laos replied with a rifling shot from Sisawad Dalavong before Calver’s winner two minutes to the end.
AFF UNDER-16 PREPARATORY TOURNAMENT 2012
(All matches at the Lao National Stadium, KM16)
2 June 2012: AUSTRALIA 1 JAPAN 1 / THAILAND 0 LAOS 1
4 June 2012: JAPAN 3 THAILAND 0 / LAOS 2 AUSTRALIA 3
6 June 2012: Australia vs Thailand (1600) / Japan vs Laos (1900)
8 June 2012: 3rd position vs 4th position (1600) / Winner vs Runner-up (1900)