AFC U-16 Championship 2018 Qualifiers Group I: Australia secure spot in Finals
Ulaanbaatar: Australia booked their place in the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 with a 3-1 victory over Vietnam in their final Group I match, while Cambodia won 3-2 against Mongolia on Sunday.
Vietnam, on six points like Australia but with an inferior goal difference, had to win to secure a spot in next year's Finals.
Vietnam started the match brightly and controlled the game early in the first half.
But their long range attempts couldn’t test Australian goalkeeper Ahmad Taleb.
Australia looked dangerous with their counter attacks but an opening goal eluded them in the first half.
After the break, Australia began to play with more intensity and captain Tyson Savas opened the scoring with his seventh goal of the qualifiying tournament with a close range shot in the 62nd minute.
Ten minutes later, Australian midfielder Ryan Teague doubled their advantage with a free-kick.
Tristan Hammond, who was rested in their previous match against Cambodia, converted a penalty kick to make it 3-0 in the 79th minute.
Vietnam got a consolation from substitute forward Dau Ngoc Thanh, who scored in the 82nd minute.
Vu Hong Viet (Vietnam Head Coach)
“First, I want to congratulate Australia. This game was very crucial for both teams. We showed good performance in the first half, but in the second half, our defensive players loss their concentration. We lost mentally.”
Peter Cklamovski (Australia Head Coach)
“Vietnam was a very difficult opponent. They played really hard and made it challenging. We have improved in the last few months, and we did a good job today. As a team, we have progressed very well every day. We look forward to building and preparing the team, as we aim to win next year’s final tournament.”
Cambodia and Mongolia entered the match with pride on the line, after suffering two consecutive losses to Vietnam and Australia.
Mongolia changed three players in their starting lineup, but it was Cambodia who started the match the aggressor. Their captain Ky Rina opened the scoring in the seventh minute and Met Samel doubled their advantage eleven minutes later.
Nanjid Dash-Yampil's side battled for their first goal and succeeded when Temuulen Erdenetsogt put Mongolia on the scoreboard after capitalising on a mistake by goalkeeper Kong Pheaktra in the 24th minute.
However, it was shortlived as Bunthoeun Bunnarong scored for Cambodia in the 34th minute to make it 3-1 at halftime.
After the break, Mongolia improved significantly and continued to push forward. Their ambition paid off as Temuulen Erdenetsogt scored his brace in the 52nd minute.
The host nation couldn’t find further opportunities and can only rue their missed chances.
Lee Tae-hoon (Cambodia Head Coach)
“Although Mongolia lost the game, they showed very good football and didn’t give up till the end. For us, we won today, but we should work harder and improve our individual ability. As I've mentioned before, almost all of our players just started to play football this year. We still have the future to improve.”
Nanjid Dash-Yampil (Mongolia Head Coach)
“Firstly, I want to thank the Mongolian Football Federation. They have supported us on many things. Our target was not to qualify, but we just wanted to take a point and win. This was our last chance to reach our goal, but it was a tough game.”