Australia gave Cambodia a harsh lesson in the first futsal meeting between the two nations, notching up 15 goals to no reply at Bangkok’s Krungthep Thonburi Indoor Stadium yesterday during their opening fixture of the 2012 AFC Futsal Championship ASEAN Zone Qualifiers.
The Australians, who have made the quarterfinals of the tournament proper in each of the last three editions, completely dominated their diminutive opponents.
“It wasn’t a problem of mentality, but it was about lack of international experience before coming here,” Cambodia’s head coach, Hok Sottitya, said.
“We are so young, and we didn’t play any international friendly match. We played only against local clubs. We had some chances in scoring, but our finishing wasn’t good.”
Cambodia were put on the back foot even before leaving for the stadium yesterday morning as experienced Cambodian player Vann Sokretya, who had competed in the previous qualifying competition in Jakarta in 2010, was rushed to hospital suffering from a high fever and vomiting.
In the first half, Cambodia focused purely on defending and limited the onslaught to four goals. Cambodian goalkeeper Kongvong Sovichea was kept busy throughout, and denied a slew of strikes to keep things relatively close.
In the second half, Cambodia began to launch more attacks, a tactic that left gaps at the back.
Eung Slauth, Golden Boot winner from the 2011 Cambodian Futsal Cup, had many chances to score, but his finishing let him down. Captain Soun Thorn, Tep Vanpiseth and Prom Yaneth also carved out fine chances, but Australian stopper Gavin O’Brien performed his job adequately.
In the final minute, Chinese referee Zhang Youze awarded a penalty to the Kingdom following Australia’s sixth team foul. Ouk Rasin stepped up, but saw his spotkick saved by O’Brien.
The majority of goals for Australia had been made from a distance, with the Cambodian players caught napping. Keshavavarz Adeli collected the top haul with five goals, while team-mate Danny Ngaluafe netted a hat-trick.
Cambodia go on to face Vietnam this afternoon, with qualification from their four-team group, which also includes Malaysia, seemingly beyond their grasp.
Today’s Futsal Fixtures
Malaysia v Australia – 11:30am
Cambodia v Vietnam – 2pm
Myanmar v Indonesia – 4:30pm
Philippines v Thailand – 5pm