U23s off to a dream start at SEA Games as Laotian hearts broken 4-1

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Cambodia’s Im Somoun tries to control the ball in front of the Laos goalkeeper during their match in the ongoing SEA Games 31 in Vietnam. CAMSOC

The Cambodian men’s U23 national football team had a dream start to their campaign in group B of the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) on May 9 after trouncing Laos U23 4-1 in front of a big crowd in Vietnam’s Nam Din province.

In front of 30,000 fans at Thien Truong Stadium, rising star Sieng Chanthea showed why he is in the hearts of Cambodian fans as his strike from the left flank went into the top of the net to help the Young Kouprey lead in just the 4th minute. Lao defender Anantaza Siphongphan scored an own goal after Visakha striker Sa Ty’s shot was deflected from the Lao goalkeeper before bouncing off him into the net as Ryu Hirose’s U23s finished the first half with a 2-0 lead.

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Cambodia's Sieng Chanthea (center) runs to the ball against a Lao player during their match in the ongoing SEA Games 31 in Vietnam. SEAGAMES2021

The start of the second half was a lively affair, as Laos looked deep within themselves and pushed for a comeback, but it was Cambodia who piled more misery on their neighbours after Ky Rina scored their third goal in the 64th minute. Laos managed to find the back of the net three minutes later, following a defensive blunder by Min Ratanak.

Im Somoun of Cambodia restored their lead with an easy tap-in from a neat cross by his teammate to complete the win for the Kingdom, but his team will regret the number of wasted chances they had in front of the goal mouth in the final 15 minutes.

Nevertheless, the result will boost Cambodia’s spirits and confidence levels ahead of their next matches, which are expected to be tough. They face Singapore on May 11 before meeting Thailand two days later. Their final match is against Malaysia on May 16.

Meanwhile, in the second match of day, the Thailand squad secured a comfortable 5-0 victory over Singapore in their second match of Group B to bag their first win after their shock 2-1 loss to Malaysia in their opening game.