| HO CHI MINH CITY (August 5, 2007) – Malaysia came back twice from being a goal down to subdue Laos 7-3 in a decisive Group A match of the AFF Under-20 Championship at the Thanh Long Sports Complex here today.
The win made sure of the Malaysians’ place in the semi-finals where they will meet Group B leaders Thailand on Tuesday.
Against Laos, Malaysia needed only a draw to go through to the semi-finals but from the start it was the Loatians who controlled much of the opening exchanges.
Within five minutes, Sayya Meungmany gave Loas the lead with a shot from the top of the penalty area.
The Laotian players appeared eager to take shots from a distance in contrast to the Malaysians who wanted to break through to the penalty area before attempting a look at goal.
On a rain-sodden pitch the latter approach proved less feasible than the Loatian strategy.
But as the sun came out and Laos failed to sustain the pressure, Malaysia grabbed the equaliser through Mohd Syazwan Zinon with two minutes left to the break.
Both teams came out in the second half eager to get ahead.
Laos was quicker on the uptake with Phuttavong Sapackdy capitalising on confusion in the Malaysian defence to score in the 59th minute.
Stung by the second setback, the Malaysians charged into attack with skipper K. Gurusamy drawing them level in the 65th minute before putting them ahead with a header ten minutes later.
Gurusamy’s second goal precipitated a Loatian collapse which saw the Malaysians scoring almost at will through Abdul Shukor Jusoh (77th minute) Firdaus Azizul (82nd) and Yusaini Che Saad (89th).
In injury time Sayya Meungmany, retrieved some pride for Laos with a goal which found an immediate response in yet another Malaysian strike through Mohd Shazlan Alias for the final scoreline.
IN THE MEANTIME Myanmar, who were already through to the semi-finals, scratched a 2-1 win over Singapore in a Group A match of the AFF Under-20 competition here that was only of academic interest.
Despite using all their reserves, a Myanmar draw, leave alone defeat, was improbable against an opposition considered the weakest in the tournament.
Yet, the first half was scoreless and fostered the notion that Myanmar would have to settle for the dreaded one point.
But in the 51st minute, a penalty was awarded to them for a hand ball which Pyaye Phyo Oo converted to give Maynmar the lead.
But that lead was short lived when Quak Jun Yi scored for Singapore in the 67th minute.
However, Myanmar restored their lead with eleven minutes remaining on the lock when Pyaye Phyo Oo was on target with a rasping drive off a good pass.
The win saw Myanmar lodged firmly on top of Group A with the full nine points from three matches and where they will meet Vietnam, the runners-up in Group B, in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
FINAL GROUP STANDING
P W D L F A PTS
Myanmar 3 3 0 0 8 2 9
Thailand 3 2 1 0 15 1 7
August 7, 2007: Thailand vs Malaysia/Myanmar vs Vietnam