PALEMBANG (4 May 2018) – It took a long, long time but in the end, Janista Jinantuya made all the difference for Thailand with a late strike to beat Laos 1-0 as Indonesia had a double from Firanda to thank for their 2-0 win over Cambodia in Group B of the AFF Under-16 Girls’ Championship.
Defending champions Thailand, who had earlier beaten hosts Indonesia 4-1 in their first game in the group, have now booked their place in the semi—finals of the championship this year after picking up the full six points from two matches.
“We knew that Laos have a strong defence as we had played them before in a friendly the previous week,” said Thailand head coach Naruephon Kaenson. “In a way, I thought that we were quite lucky to get that goal.”
In the crucial match which could well decide the group winners, both Laos and Thailand were cautious at the start of the match that was played at the Athletic Jaka Baring 1 Stadium.
As a result, the game lacked the usual liveliness between two attacking teams with chances few in between as they struggled to stamp their authority in the middle of the park.
With the game trickling into the second half with no change to the score line, the pace picked up somewhat with Laos being the more aggressive.
In the 51st minute, Inthida Khounsy picked up a weak clearance from the Thai defence to play for Sengdeuan Phongphailath to totally muff it with a shot well over the cross bar.
Just a minute later, Pe Pe got a real chance in between the Thai defence but her attempt went wide.
As Laos continue to be frustrated, Thailand pushed forward and in the 68th minute tested Laos keeper Phatthalavady Sophothirath with a low grounder that came off the upright.
And just when the game was heading for a stalemate, a Laos defensive lapse right at the end allowed Janista the chance to toe poke the ball home for the win and the three full points for Thailand.
“Unlucky that we lost but my players played well,” said Laos head coach Phonethip Sengmany. “The strategy was to defend in the first and attack in the second. We also pulled it off.”
In the meantime at the Bumi Sriwijaya Stadium, Indonesia won their crucial match to keep their semi-finals hopes alive when they beat Cambodia 2-0.
After falling to Thailand in their first game, Indonesia needed the win to give themselves a fighting chance when they take Laos in their final game in the group.
And they duly delivered what was expected in front of a partisan crowd, with Firanda scoring in the either half of the tie. She was on target in the 31st and 71st minute.
“It was an important win for us after the loss in the last game,” said Indonesian head coach Rully Nere. “We created so many chances but the players were a little too impatient. We have to be better in the next game.”
AFF UNDER-16 GIRLS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
RESULTS (Group B)
Indonesia 2 Cambodia 0
Laos 0 Thailand 1
FIXTURES (Group A)
5 May 2018 (Kick off at 1600hrs)
Philippines vs Singapore (Bumi Sriwijaya)
Myanmar vs Malaysia (Athletic Jaka Baring 1)