NagaWorld midfielder Sos Suhana landed the winning blow for Cambodia as the side put their narrow defeat to Laos behind them to down Singapore 1-0 and make the semifinals of the Hassanal Bolkiah U22 Youth Tournament in Brunei.
The victory came at Brunei’s Track and Field Sports Complex on Monday evening.
Taking to the pitch for the must-win clash with Singapore, who had beaten Laos 5-1 at the start of the three-team Pool B campaign four days ago, coach Prak Sovannara’s hard hitting message to the players was to remind them that their destiny was in their hands after the injury-time loss to Laos on Saturday night.
After fending off some forceful thrusts from the Singaporeans, Suhana slotted in a rebound 23 minutes into the game.
A slender 1-0 lead is always at risk, however, and in the second session the Cambodian defence came under intense scrutiny.
But after watching his charges waste some decent chances, Sovannara was relieved to see the young side stoutly see out the match and was full of praise for their fighting spirit and teamwork.
The three teams in Pool B ended up with one win each. On the strength of their rout of Laos, Singapore topped the group, with Cambodia’s goal quotient just enough to keep Laos out of the semifinals.
Myanmar next for Young Warriors
Hosts Brunei went down by a first-half goal to Myanmar in front of a massive crowd at the HB National Stadium to be pushed out of the knockout stage.
Timor Leste drew 1-1 with Thailand and made it out of the group as runners-up behind Myanmar, who had a better goal difference than the home side.
In the group-crossing last-four pairings, Cambodia will take on Pool A winners Myanmar on Wednesday at the HB National Stadium, while Pool B toppers Singapore will switch to the much smaller Track and Field Sports Complex to face Timor-Leste.
The final is slated for March 5 at the HB National Stadium.
The losing semifinalists will both be declared joint third.
As well as the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy, named after the Sultan of Brunei, the event carries a prize of $15,200 for the winner, with $7,600 going to the runner-up.
The joint third placed teams will get $3,800 each.