Malaysia sealed a place in the semi-finals of the 2013 Mekong Region Youth Football Tournament for the BIDC Cup after a hard-earned 3-2 victory over Laos in a Group B game at the Olympic Stadium yesterday. Later in a group A encounter Thailand outplayed Myanmar 3-1.
Sarach Yooyen’s 44th minute penalty conversion gave Thailand a first half lead. Aniruth Suebyim struck Thailand’s second goal in the 62nd minute. Myanmar captain Maung Maung Soe pulled one back through a penalty conversion but Thailand put the result beyond doubt with a late goal from Jirawut Saranan.
Laos staged a splendid second half rally to neutralise a 2-0 Malaysian lead built on a brace from midfielder Abd Rehman Md Rozaimi, but an 85th minute strike by substitute Perris Danial was the match winner for coach Ong Kim Swee’s men.
Laos’ fight back was inspired by Khonesavanh Sihavong who scored two goals in a five minute span to breathe new life into the game after Malaysia had doubled an eighth minute lead in the next 25 minutes.
Early in the second half Laos missed a chance to pull one back when Sopha Saysana failed to convert a penalty, but Sihavong found the net twice in the 75th and 80th minute to keep Laos in with a fighting chance.
“We played a dominant first half but allowed Laos to get back into the game. But overall I am happy the way our players performed and we look forward to the next stage”, Malaysian coach Ong Kim Swee told the Post.
Laos take on Cambodia today to decide the second semi-final spot, while Cambodia, on the strength of their 2-2 draw against Malaysia, need at least a draw to make the grade, it is a must win game for Laos.
Vietnam’s plight in Group A is something similar to that of Laos. Following their 0-1 loss to Myanmar, only a win against Thailand will keep Vietnam’s chances alive.