There were jubilant scenes at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Wednesday as Cambodia booked their passage to the semi-finals of the Southeast Asian (Sea) Games men’s football by the narrowest of margins with a 3-1 win over Malaysia.
The Philippines drubbed Timor-Leste 6-1 at the Binan Stadium, but Cambodia’s superior goal difference going into the final round of matches meant the Warriors squeaked through to the medal round by a margin of just one goal.
Felix Dalmas’ Warriors put on a superb second-half showing after the sides were even at the interval, with In Sodavid, Sieng Chanthea and Keo Sokpheng getting on the scoresheet.
With Cambodia, Malaysia and the Philippines all level on four points, a decent margin of victory was likely needed for the Warriors, with the Philippines playing group whipping boys Timor-Leste, who had earlier gone down 5-0 to Cambodia.
Cambodia struck in the 56th minute when Malaysian keeper Haziq Nadzli punched a corner towards the edge of the box and to Sodavid who smashed home.
The Warriors capitalised on the deflated Malaysian defence, scoring again just a minute later, with 17-year-old Chantea picking up the ball on the left wing. Jinking past a defender, he beat Nadzli at the near post to double Cambodia’s lead.
The third came from Sokpheng in the 68th minute, before Quentin Cheng pulled one back for Malaysia on 90.
Cambodia will face Vietnam, the winners of Group B in their semi-final on Saturday. The match kicks off at 7pm Cambodian time.
In the other semi, Indonesia take on Myanmar.