SURABAYA (3 Aug 2018) – Thailand are poised to win Group A of the AFF Under-16 Championship after sidestepping Singapore 3-1 to confirm their place in the semi-finals this afternoon here at the Joko Samudro Stadium.
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.”