Thais ensure semis berth after beating Indonesia 4-1
JAKARTA (Agencies): Indonesia narrowed its chance for a semifinal ticket following a 1-4 defeat over Southeast Asian soccer powerhouse Thailand in its second encounter in the Tiger Cup soccer match in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Friday.
Indonesia has to overcome Myanmar in its last match on Sunday should it wish to join the host into the final four.
Thai's striker Worrawoot Srimaka freed himself from defender Suwandhi's blockade and scored the first goal in the 24th minute.
Twenty five minutes later, Indonesian goalie I Komang Putra let the ball slip from his hand and it fell into the path of Srimaka who immediately kicked it into the net.
In the 53th minute, English first division league player Kiatisuk 'Zico' Senamuang outran defender Eko Purjianto and kicked the ball flatly in the 53th minute.
Indonesia's hopes almost brightened when young striker Gendut Doni Christiawan managed a goal three minutes later, thanks to a feed from top striker Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto.
With ten minutes left to play, Thailand extended its lead when Dusit Chalersman curled a short pass from Witthaya Nabthong into the net.
Indonesian coach Nandar Iskandar blamed the poor performance on three defenders -- Ismet Sofyan, Sugiantoro and Aji Santoso -- who failed to mark the Thais skillful players.
"Thai players can easily spot our passing direction and our defense zone is always empty. Thailand plays consistently and the players are very hard-working. Moreover, our players seemed to have less fighting spirit," he said in a media release.
Nandar expressed his hope that Indonesia could bounce back on Sunday.
In Songkhla, Vietnam will seek to avenge its Tiger Cup final defeat two years ago when it takes on Singapore on Saturday for a semifinal place in this year's tournament.
A victory would not only give Vietnam a place in the last four but possibly ensure a position as the Group B champion. To lose would mean a repeat blow to its pride and an end to its 2000 Tiger Cup journey.
Vietnam lost to Singapore 0-1 in the 1998 final.
"Of course after Singapore we still have to play Laos in our final group match. But I am sure if we lose tomorrow, we are out. The result against Laos would make no difference," said coach Alfred Riedl as quoted by AP.
Vietnam has four points from two matches while Singapore has six from two. Even if Singapore loses Saturday's match, it will have one more chance to get three points on Monday when it takes on old enemy, Malaysia, which has seven points from three matches.
"But I'd rather have the points in the bag now than wait for Monday, for which there will be no guarantee either," said Singapore coach, Vincent Subramaniam.
"It will be an interesting match and a battle of hearts and minds. Both teams need to win and given the prevailing circumstances, I see nothing but a tough battle ahead," he said.
Riedl said he sees no weak line in the Singapore side.
Vietnam will have to do without midfielder Tran Cong Min who is down with an eye injury.
Singapore's captain, Nazri Nasir, meanwhile, is suffering a black eye from a match against Cambodia six days ago and a bruised thigh from a match in Singapore 10 days ago in the friendly against Indonesia.
Also Saturday, Laos and Cambodia will compete to decide who will end up as Group B's wooden spoonist and leave the tournament without a victory to its name.
"We have never lost to Cambodia in all our previous matches as far as I can remember. Not even in the age group competition. And it will not happen tomorrow," said Laos coach Vattana Outhensackda.
On the other hand, Cambodia's spirit has been given a tremendous lift after its heartwarming performance against Malaysia on Wednesday in a narrow 2-3 defeat.
"We are getting better with each match, and our confidence is improving too. Nobody likes to go home without a win in the tournament. Not Cambodia," coach Joachin Fickert said. (ivy)
Group A Team P W D L GF GA Pts Thailand 2 2 0 0 7 2 6 Myanmar 2 1 0 1 4 3 3 Indonesia 2 1 0 1 4 4 3 Philippines 2 0 0 2 0 6 0
Group B Team P W D L GF GA Pts Malaysia 3 2 1 0 8 2 7 Singapore 2 2 0 0 4 0 6 Vietnam 2 1 1 0 6 0 4 Laos 2 0 0 2 0 8 0 Cambodia 3 0 0 3 2 10 0