| PHNOM PENH (August 27, 2007) – Indonesia made the semi-finals of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-17 Championship this year when they beat Thailand 2-1 in a crucial match of Group A which was played at the Army Stadium.
With the results of the other simultaneous match between Malaysia and hosts Cambodia ending in a 3-3 draw at the National Olympic Stadium, the win for Indonesia allowed them to join Thailand in the last four of the championship.
An early goal in the third minute off Kurniawan put pressure in the Thai defence and where barely four minutes later, they conceded an own goal when Atit Daosawong put the ball into his own net.
The injury-riddled Thai side then tried to get back into the game with a goal in the 27th minute off Vichitchai Chuaisinuan but found it hard going in the later stages of the game as they settled for the final score line.
IN THE MEANTIME at the National Olympic Stadium, hosts Cambodia failed to hold on to their two-goal advantage when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Malaysia.
With Indonesia winning their last group match against Thailand to make the last four, the game between Malaysia and Cambodia turned out to be pure academics.
In front of more than 25,000 screaming fans, Cambodia started well with a failed attempt from Ouk Thon which was quickly followed up with the first goal of the game when Keo Sokngon punished a mistake from Phou Kimse to slot home.
In the 27th minute, Sokngon became the provider when his short pass was quickly followed up for Oum Kumpheak to score Cambodia’s second goal.
But the break proved to be a turning point where at the hour mark, Malaysia narrowed the gap through D. Saarvindran who made good on a cross from Mohamad Fandi Othman.
And while Cambodia did restore their two-goal advantage in the 68th minute when Sokngon again was in thick of the action to slam home after beating two defenders, there was no denying the Malaysians from stealing the one point.
In the 79th minute Saarvindran scored his second goal of the evening with a wicked chip while five minutes to the end, saw Muhammad Fuad Mamat delivering a lob from the right to beat keeper Peng Bunchay for his goal in the game.
“We were leading the game for much of the time,” said Cambodian head coach Prak Sovannara at the post-match press conference.
“We needed to win this match and certainly I’m not happy with the result today.”
Responded Malaysian head coach Aminuddin Hussin: “I am happy with the players. They were two goals down and it was fantastic for them to hold Cambodia to a 3-3 draw.”
FINAL GROUP A STANDING
1. THAILAND 9pts (+5); 2. INDONESIA 8pts (+4); 3. MALAYSIA 5pts (+5); 4. CAMBODIA 5pts (+1); 5. BRUNEI 0pt (-15)
PIC: MALAYSIA (yellow/black) against CAMBODIA (in blue)