VIENTIANE (13 July 2011) – Thailand edged closer to the AFF Under-16 Championship semifinals after defeating Indonesia 2-0 on a rainy night at the National Sports Complex here tonight. The Thais move to the top of the group for the first time with seven points but Indonesia’s hopes of sneaking back into contention crashed with this evening’s defeat.
Nattawut Sombatyotha and Chaowat Veerachat scored once in each half to lead the Thais to a very crucial win. They have now won two matches and drawn one and are in a good position to claim a semifinal berth. The outcome of the match between Malaysia and Laos later tonight will have a huge bearing on Thailand. Should Laos beat Malaysia, the hosts and Thailand are likely to go through.
The heavy conditions tonight made it tough for both teams. What made the difference was the early second minute goal from Nattawut. Indonesia, who had to win today to keep remain in the running, were chasing the game from that moment on and never were able to recover from it.
Some 20 minutes before the match was due to start, the skies opening up and unleashed a massive downpour that threatened to delay the kick-off. It was 5.00pm but so dark that the floodlights had to be turned on.
Fortunately the rain eased off and the referee Hoang Anh Tuan gave the go ahead to play on a heavy pitch. Just about a minute into the game though, part of the lights went off and the game was stopped. The officials responded quickly and the game got underway after about a five minute break.
And when the game re-started, Thailand exploded into attack and almost immediately went ahead through a brilliant header from Nattawut Sombatyotha, who had turned in a cross from Saran Puangbut.
Indonesia, playing without suspended skipper Muhamad Hargianto, charged back and almost squared things in the eighth minute. But livewire Terens Owang Puhiri’s powerful shot from outside the box slipped over the crossbar.
Thailand held their ground well and Indonesia were unable to get very far for the rest of the half. Indonesia did not give up and pressed on for the goals. But as the match progressed, it became increasingly obvious that they were beginning to lose heart and that was when Thailand took their chances.
In the 67th minute, Suradet Klanhkham’s curling shot was punched out for a corner. And from the ensuing kick, Chaowat Veerachat, from the top of the box, let loose a stiff shot into the roof of the net.
Supravee Miprathang could have added another two minutes on but his shot screamed over the bar.
<b>INDONESIA:</b> Muhammad Rezapratama (GK), Rizky Syawaludin, Helmi Madila Ihza (Cpt), Zalnando, Tedi, Indra Kelana Nasution, Irvan Ibrahim Yanes, Hanif Abdurrauf Sjahbandi, Rendi Refsanyami, Bryan Agung Fahlevi, Rizky Juang Pratama, Terens Owang Puhiri
<b>Coach: </b> Mundari Karya
<b>THAILAND:</b>Apirak Worawong (GK), Rachen Sobunma, Jeerawut Kulchart, Nattawut Sombatyotha, Amnart Pamornprasert (Cpt), Suradet Klankham, Supravee Miprathang, Saran Puangbut, Jutitep Tonglim, Chaowat Veerachat, Sittichok Kannoo
<b>Coach: </b>Wisut Wichaya
<b>Goalscorers:</b> Nattawut Sombatyotha (2nd), Chaowat Veerachat (67th)
<b>Yellow:</b> Amnart Pamornprasert 55th
<b> Referee:</b>Hoang Anh Tuan (Vie)
<b>Assistant Referee 1: </b> Kywadhana Yean (Cam)
<b>Assistant Referee 2: </b> Mohamad Faizal Abas (Sin)
<b>Fourth Official: </b> Sipaseuth Sinbandith (Lao)
<b>Match Commissioner: </b>Yeh Htut Tin (Mya)
<b>Referee Assessor: </b>Augustine Arlando (Sin)
<b>General Coordinator: </b> U Tin Aung (Mya)