Laos U23 has the advantage in the first match after defeating Malaysia U23 Went with a score of 2-1 in the AFF U23 Championship 2022 group stage, Group B at Prince Stadium, Phnom Penh.
The match started with Malaysia on the front foot. They were making the most of the wide areas and made their intentions clear by mounting several attacks. They could have even taken an early lead when Anbualagan weaved a perfectly measured pass for Muhammad Nur behind Laos’ defence. The forward got to the ball and fired a first-time shot but was unlucky to hit the woodwork.
Laos continued to sit deep in their own half and looked to absorb the pressure. Although they were counter-attacking in bits and pieces, their lack of creativity was evident once they reached the attacking third. On the other hand, Malaysia kept probing with purpose but were struggling to find the decisive final ball that would unlock Laos’ gritty defence. In the final stretch of the first half, they further increased their attacking prowess ln search of the opener.
Finally just at the nick of halftime Selvan Anbualagan put his team in front after latching on to a corner floated by Ahmad Tasnim. The midfielder was lurking near the far post and made the most of Laos defensive failure to clear their lines with a right-footed shot beyond the reach of keeper Keo-Udone Suvannasangso.
In the 54th minute, Malaysia could have doubled their lead through a free-kick delivered by Ahmad Tasnim as Laos defenders once again looked shaky during set-pieces. But they were profligate in front of goal which denied them the opportunity to get an insurance goal.
In the 56th minute, Laos equalised taking advantage of some sloppy defending by Malaysia. Chanthavixay Khounthoumphone sent in a hopeful cross from the right wing for Bounkong who was being marked by two defenders in Faiz Amer and Harith Haiqal. But the skipper dribbled past both of them and unleashed a powerful shot at goal that beat Sikh Izhan under the sticks.
The goal boosted their confidence and Han Weiss’ troops gradually start coming out of their cocoon to take the game to Malaysia. The match was on an even keel in the last quarter and both teams were taking calculated risks to get their nose in front.
In the 79th minute, Laos took the lead after converting a free-kick that was sent in by Bounkong. He dished out a perfectly floated ball in the mix and centre back Phetdavanh Somsanid beat his marker to ripple the net with his header.
Brad Maloney responded immediately by introducing Arif Shaqirin and Ruventhiran Vengadesan. Malaysia threw everything at the kitchen sink in search of their equaliser but Laos’ defenders weathered the storm with grit and determination.
End games, Laos is a side beat Malaysia 2-1, and the two sides will once again meet each other on 21 February in their bid for a place in the knockouts. If aggregate score 2 matches has draw, will need to play extra-time and penalty shoot out for find a winner onwards.
Credit Photo : Kem Sovanna