Malaysia back in the race, Vietnam held
Thong Nhat: Malaysia boosted their AFF U-18 Championship 2019 semi-final hopes while Vietnam suffered a blow in Group B action on Tuesday.
Malaysia produced a stunning performance to defeat Australia 3-0 while Vietnam dropped points when they played to a 0-0 draw with Thailand. Singapore, meanwhile, defeated Cambodia 1-0.
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AUSTRALIA 0-3 MALAYSIA
The win took Malaysia to nine points, the same as Australia with the Malaysians ahead on goal difference.
“The credit should go to the players as they managed to put into practice what we have done in training. We know how Australia play, so we were prepared,” said Malaysian head coach Brad Maloney.
Malaysia needed the three points, having lost to Vietnam in their opening match.
With the weather once again playing havoc between the beating of the sweltering afternoon sun and then a sudden downpour, the Malaysians were disciplined in their defending and that made the difference at the Thanh Long Stadium.
After testing Australian keeper Jackson Henry Lee with a crisp shot after 10 minutes, Luqman Hakim Shamsudin made up for his miss to give Malaysia the lead in the 17th minute when he picked up a through ball between two defenders to slot the ball home.
Australia almost came back with a quick reply just three minutes later but Gianluca Iannucci’s effort was blocked by a recovering defender.
The narrow escape prompted Malaysia to pour forward and Muhammad Azam Murad doubled their lead in the 27th minute when he finished a cross into the box.
Six minutes before the breather, the Malaysians went further ahead with another finish from Luqman as Australia found themselves under pressure to salvage the match.
In the end, the score stood to the end and Malaysia will aim to seal their semi-final berth when they play Thailand on Thursday. Australia will face Singapore.
THAILAND 0-0 VIETNAM
Vietnam headed into the match knowing a win was what they needed after the Australia-Malaysia result but Thailand proved to be stubborn opponents.
“The result was what I had expected. Both teams missed a lot of chances. But we still have another match to play,” said Vietnam head coach Hoang Anh Tuan.
Thailand assistant coach Boumprom said his team will learn and improve after a difficult tournament.
“it was a highly competitive game. And it was a keen fight between the two teams. Naturally we are disappointed with the way we have performed this week. We will improve for the 2020 AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers.”
Thailand, who struggled in their first three matches, took to the match with zest as they looked to stop a Vietnam backed by more than 10,000 screaming fans.
But after the first few early misses from Vo Nguyen Hoang and then Nguyen Kim Nhat, the indications were that it was going to be a long, long night.
Thailand fared no better inside the Vietnam box as they shot wide or were denied by goalkeeper Y. E. Li Ni.
Vietnam face Cambodia on Thursday.
CAMBODIA 0-1 SINGAPORE
Singapore scored their first win with a 1-0 triumph over Cambodia to move into fourth place.
The only goal of the game came in the 67th minute through Muhammad Azri Suhaili Muhammad Azar.
On Wednesday, Indonesia and Myanmar will square off to decide the Group A winners with both teams having a perfect record of four wins. Indonesia, ahead on goal difference, only need a draw to seal the top spot.
Timor-Leste and Laos will face off to decide third place while Brunei Darussalam and Philippines will be seeking to end their campaigns on a high.
Fixtures - Wednesday (all times local): Myanmar vs Indonesia (16:30); Laos vs Timor-Leste (17:00); Philippines vs Brunei Darussalam (20:00).
Sources: ASEAN Football Federation, Vietnam Football Federation
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