| HO CHI MINH CITY (July 31, 2007) – Hosts Vietnam swamped neighbours Cambodia 5-0 in the opening Group B match of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-20 championship here at the Thanh Long Sports Complex tonight.
After a scoreless first half which Vietnam played at a pace faster than its skill could sustain, the home nation settled to a more sedate tempo in the second half.
A combination of Vietnam’s better technique and Cambodia’s self-inflicted collapse saw the former score a succession of goals that began with Hoang Van Binh’s strike from 20 metres out on 50 minutes that caught the Cambodia keeper flat-footed.
Cambodia’s fate was sealed 11 minutes later when skipper Hout Sokunthea turned a Vietnamese cross from the flanks into his own goal.
That goal ended what hope the Cambodians had for a fight back.
With a handy 2-0 lead, the Vietnamese settled down more confidently to reinforce their superiority with goals in the 84th minutes by Nguyen Van Quan, by Tran Tan Dat a minute later and by Tran Manh Dung a minute into injury time.
Vietnam chief coach Nguyen Manh Cuong pronounced himself pleased with the victory but said his side lacked experience.
“We will make changes to our strategy for the next match but I cannot tell you what they will be,” he said.
IN THE MEANTIME, Thailand suggested they are the team to beat in the tournament this year when they overwhelmed Brunei 7-0 in the second match in Group B.
Their technical superiority was evident early in the match though skills wise, Brunei suggested that they were no laggards.
The way Thai forward Attapong Nooprom chipped the Brunei defence for the first goal that started the rout in the eight minutes indicated that the Thais had the silky skills to go with their technique.
But Brunei were no slouches when it came to individual skill as winger Nazirul Nasreen had Thai defenders bemused on the right flank for a spell that did not last.
Inability to sustain these spells brought that most discouraging of errors: an own goal which Brunei defender Abdul Aziz Tamit gifted the Thais in the 34th minute.
The own goal ended serious Bruneian resistance – the rest was Thai revelry.
Goals by Nirunrit Jaroensuk (36th minute) , Sarawut Masuk (73rd) and a hat trick by Wanthon In-Uten (44th, 76th, 81st) completed the rout.
Group B: Vietnam bt Cambodia 5-0; Thailand bt Brunei 7-0.
Group A: Malaysia vs Singapore; Laos vs Myanmar