THONG NHAT (12 August 2019) – An own goal from Anoulack Vannalath gave Indonesia not only a close 2-1 win over Laos but also confirmed their place in the semi-finals of the AFF Under-18 Next Media Cup 2019 from Group A.
The three points on the day at the Thong Nhat Stadium ensured Indonesia a perfect four out of four matches following wins over the Philippines, Timor Leste and then Brunei DS.
“Laos were very disciplined in their defending and that made it really hard for us. They had five players upfront and then the other five were disciplined at the back,” said Indonesia head coach Fakhri Hussaini.
“But the players responded well and today we got the points we wanted.”
Whether it was the weather or otherwise, both Indonesia and Laos seemed to be struggling under the afternoon sun as neither were pushing too hard in search of the early goal.
And with Indonesia seemingly disjointed even with the talent of Aminuddin Bagus Alfikri leading the attack, head coach Fakhri had to ring in the changes when he brought in Muhammad Fajar Rachman and then Beckham Nugraha.
But with the battle restricted to the centre of the park, chances were few where it was not until the 39th minute of play that Laos actually created a real opportunity with a Phouvieng Phouhsavath freekick that tested Indonesian custodian Ermando Sutaryadi.
Muhammad Fajar gave Indonesia more options down the left and barely a minute in, Bagus’ effort could have seen better finish while Sutan Diego fared no better against a determined Laos’ backline.
That failure to find the back of the net saw Laos taking the lead instead in the 69th minute with Alounnay Lounlasy firing in from the edge of the Indonesian box.
But that advantage would last barely three minutes with who else but the irrepressible Bagus slaloming his way through in the 72nd minute to beat Laos keeper Solasak Thilavong.
As Laos put men behind the ball in an attempt to at least steal the one point, came the cross from Beckham that was unfortunately nudged into goal by Laos defender Anoulack.