| PHNOM PENH (September 1, 2007) – Thailand won the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-17 Championship crown when they beat Laos 3-2 in a pulsating final which was played at the National Olympic Stadium.
For Laos, it was a case of being so near but yet to far in the final game where after being 3-0 down at the break, they staged a fight back to rattle the Thais before settling for the final score line.
“It was great to get the three goals in the first half although I felt that the players were a little tired after the break,” said Thailand head coach Prayoung Khunan.
“We were under a lot of pressure in the second half and I must admit that we did not handle ourselves better. This is something which the players need to learn through this experience.
“But we thank the AFF (Asean Football Federation) and H. E. Ravy Khek (the chairman of the Local Organising Committee) for all their support and generosity in these two weeks.”
Laos seems to be a shade off colour at the start and this allowed the more enterprising Thais to carve out the early goal in the 15th minute off Jirayut Saengpha who had little difficulty in putting the ball away after picking up the pass from Ratchapark Duangfa.
Six minutes later Thailand went 2-0 up when Nattachai Tosungnean drove home from inside the box.
Laos tried to get back into the game with a double effort from Phettikone Pangnasith and then from Konekham Inthammavong which Thai keeper Praphat Yotkrai was equal to the task.
In the 27th minute, Thailand stretched their lead further when Anusak Laosangthai took advantage of a hesitant Laos defence to slam the ball home.
Laos came out into the second half more determined after several failed attempts just before the break and in the 64th minute, they rightly got the goal they were looking for when Phettikone unleashed a stiff grounder at the edge of the Thai box.
And even though they got their second goal of the afternoon in the 86th minute off substitute Kita Souksabai, it came just a tad too late to draw the game and force it into extra-time.
“What happened in the first half? I really don’t know,” said Laos head coach Soulivanh Xuenvilay.
“It was good that the players came back from being three goals down but to draw the game was going to be hard. We will just have to look to next year to be better.”
ROLL OF HOUR
FAIR PLAY: Thailand
PIC: The THAILAND Under-17 team in celebration