| VIENTIANE (3 Dec 2009) – Despite not winning their first three points of the competition, Thai head coach Steve Darby was full of praises of his Under-23 chargers.
Defending champions Thailand, who have won the SEA Games gold medal for the last eight editions since 1993, were held to a 1-1 draw by Vietnam last night in their opening Group A match at the Main Stadium.
The Thais had taken a 72nd minute lead through striker Kirati Keawsombut only to see their hopes of winning the full points being blown to bits after Vietnam converted a last minute penalty from striker Dinh Tung.
“I did not see the incident so I can’t give a comment,” said Darby.
“We missed a couple of chances but I’m very pleased with the players. It was an excellent football match in Southeast Asia.
“The players performed well. They did not make unnecessary tackles to get a stupid yellow card although the Vietnamese tackled very hard.”
Thailand’s next match will be tomorrow when they take on Cambodia while Vietnam will entertain Timor Leste.
Both matches will be played at the Chao Anu Vong Stadium.
In the meantime Vietnam, who were in their new Nike strips yesterday, were more than pleased with the one point.
“It is a good result for Viet Nam,” said assistant coach Mai Duc Chung.
“They defended well against Thailand’s high balls and taller players. But it would have been better if they could limit Thailand’s ability to take shots.”
Group A: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Cambodia
Group B: Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia
RESULTS AND FIXTURES
2 Dec (Main Stadium): MALAYSIA 11 Timor Leste 0/ THAILAND 1 VIETNAM 1
4 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Thailand vs Cambodia 1500hrs)/ Vietnam vs Timor Leste (1745hrs)
5 Dec (Main Stadium): Singapore vs Indonesia (1500hrs)/ Laos vs Myanmar (1745hrs)
6 Dec (Main Stadium): Vietnam vs Malaysia (1500hrs)/ Timor Leste vs Cambodia (1745hrs)
7 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Myanmar vs Singapore (1500hrs)/ Indonesia vs Laos (1745hrs)
8 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Timor Leste vs Thailand (1500hrs)/ Cambodia vs Malaysia (1745hrs)
9 Dec: Opening Ceremony
10 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Myanmar vs Indonesia (1500hrs)/ Laos vs Singapore (1745hrs)
11 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Cambodia vs Vietnam (1500hrs)/ Malaysia vs Thailand (1500hrs)
14 Dec (Chao Anu Vong Stadium): Semi-finals
17 Dec: Third/ Fourth Placing (1500hrs at Chao Anu Vong Stadium)/ FINAL (1700hrs at Main Stadium)