VIENTIANE (13 July 2011) – Laos and Thailand advanced to the semifinals of the AFF Under-16 Championship after the hosts and Malaysia shared points in a wet Group B match at the National Sports Complex tonight. Laos and Thailand have unassailable leads going into the final group match and although Malaysia still one more match, it will not be enough to overhaul the top two.
After Thailand defeated Indonesia 2-0 in an earlier game, Laos knew they would only require a draw to make the cut. Malaysia also knew that their only chance to advance would be to defeat Laos, otherwise they would not have enough points to go through.
In the end, Laos, who took the lead through Sisawad Dalavong in the dying minutes of the first half, celebrated in front of over 9,000 fans who braved the heavy rain to support their team. Malaysia scrambled in a goal in the 72nd minute to get back into the game but they were unable to get a second goal.
Laos and Thailand have seven points each but the latter top the group on a better difference. Malaysia are third with three points and even if they defeat Timor Leste in their final group game, they will only have a maximum of six points.
Laos and Thailand will face each other in two days and it is bound to be an explosive affair as both will want to top the group and avoid a likely showdown with Group A leaders Singapore.
Tonight, despite the wet conditions, Laos were not about to slow down. They shot off the blocks and were determined to take the lead. Either concerns of the heavy rain returning or the resounding crowd support probably led to their rush to get ahead.
The Laos fans were hopeful after Armisay Kettavong was brought down at the top of the box in the 26th minuite. To their dismay, Thanin Phanthavong blasted into the wall. Malaysia replied with a fiery shot from skipper Mohamad Raphi Azizan in the 29th minute but that effort went past the outside of the post.
Towards the end, Anousay Nyavong, who had scored goals in both their earlier matches, made a quick dash down the right flank, slip by a defender as he cut in but fell to his feet as he blasted just wide.
Laos could sense thing were about to change after Thanin’s freekick rocked the crossbar four minutes from the break. A minute later, the fans leapt to their feet as Sisawad Dalavong booted in a rebound off the Malaysian keeper.
The rain intensified after the break, and this made it tougher for the youngsters. Yet, the pushed on, both Malaysia and Laos players. Laos also most sealed it in the 58th minute when a defensive blunder presented Sisawad with a golden chance but his shot sailed across an empty goal and rolled out of play.
Malaysia had a close look in the 70th minute but Adam Nor’s crisp shot went straight into the arms of the keeper. Two minutes later, the crowd fell silent when Adam scored during a mad scramble in front of goal and suddenly Malaysia were back in contention. But as they were unable to score another goal, Malaysia bowed out of the tournament even though they are likely to win their next game against Timor Leste.
<b>MALAYSIA:</b>Mohd Mursyidin Maudoode (GK), Shafiq Azreen Sa’Ari, Amirul Ikmal Hafiz, Mohd Amirul Hafizul Samsol, Awang Iskandar Awang Chek, Mohd Raphi Azizan Mariappen (Cpt), Adam Nor Azlin, Muhd Ariff Farhan Md Isa, Muhammad Fitri Mohd Ismail, Muhd Hakimi Hussin, Muhd Akram Asidi,
<b>Coach: </b>Mohd Khalid Shahdan
<b>Goalscorers:</b>Adam Nor Azlin (72nd)
<b>Yellow:</b> Awang Iskandar (7th)
<b>LAOS:</b>Vathana Keoduangdeth (GK), Xouxana Sihalath, Kitsana Seangdouangphachan, Armisay Kettavong, Anoukone Keola, Thanin Phanthavong, Southavone Thammada, Sonevilay Sihavong (Cpt), Sisawad Dalavong, Saisongkham Sumphonphukdee, Joe.E Sandala.
<b>Coach: </b>Han Hyong Il
<b>Goalscorers:</b> Sisawad Dalavong (42nd)
<b>Yellow:</b> Kitsana Seangdouangphachan (32nd)
<b> Referee:</b> U Win Htut (Mya)
<b>Assistant Referee 1: </b> Roberto Hernandez (Phi)
<b>Assistant Referee 2: </b> U Min Tun (Mya)
<b>Fourth Official: </b> Sukhbir Singh (Sin)
<b>Match Commissioner: </b>Yeh Htut Tin (Mya)
<b>Referee Assessor: </b>Augustine Arlando (Sin)
<b>General Coordinator: </b> U Tin Aung (Mya)