Thailand beat Australia for fourth title, Vietnam finish third
Palembang: Thailand beat Australia 3-2 to claim their fourth ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women's Championship title, while Vietnam ensured a third place finish after stunning Myanmar 3-0 at the Jaka Baring Stadium on Friday.
But what made the victory magnificent for the Thais was the fact that they had to come back from two goals down before they were able to put down the aspiring young Matildas.
“It was a very difficult game, especially when we were down by two goals. I really thought it would be tough to win this tie,” said Thailand head coach Nuengrutai Sraithongvian.
“I am very proud of the players for coming back into this game the way they did.”
The Thais – three times champions in 2014, 2015 and 2016 – who had beaten the same Australian side 4-2 in the group stage would find them a totally different kettle of fish.
Several positional changes saw the speedy Kanjana Sung-ngoen being clamped down on the right while the usually explosive Suchawadee Niidhamrong had a rather quiet night at the start.
That allowed Australian striker Alexandra Chidiac more space and as they took more possession of the offensive play, they finally carved out the lead when the tournament top striker Mary Boio Fowler pushed through the Thai defence to score from close.
As their confidence grew into the second half, the Australian girls managed to get their second goal of the game in the 58thminute when Fowler nodded home the cross from Princess Megan Isei.
But the Thais did not lose focus and just a minute later, Suchawadee finally showed up in the match to score with a stiff grounder to give themselves hope of a recovery.
As Australia become increasingly under pressure to protect their lead, substitute Orathai Srimanee fired in from close following a corner that was not cleared.
Three minutes later, Thailand finally went ahead for the first time in the match when Rattikan Thongsombut swung in a curling shot from the left of the Australian box to beat keeper Jada Leanne Mathyssen for the third time on the night.
“The tournament is a good test for these young players,” said Australian head coach Leah Blayney.
“And they have done very well.”
THAILAND won their FOURTH AFF Women’s crown in a row after beating U20 Australia 3-2 in the FINAL tonight at d Jaka Baring Stadium in Palembang pic.twitter.com/UFIACMz4RI— ASEAN Football (@AFFPresse) July 13, 2018
In the meantime, Vietnam take third spot in the AFF Women’s Championship 2018 when they beat Myanmar 3-0 in the classification match this afternoon at the Jaka Baring Stadium.
The win has at least given some consolation to the Vietnam for their less than impressive performance in the semi-finals when they conceded defeat to the U-20 Australia.
“We are proud and certainly happy for today’s result. After the loss to Australia (in the semi-finals), the players are determined to do better and they delivered today,” said Vietnam head coach Mai Duc Chung.
“We managed to beat Myanmar and we win third spot in the championship this year.”
Rather than it being a lacklustre affair in the classification game, both Vietnam and Myanmar provided some end to end action as each was determined to at least get onto the podium.
But it was Vietnam who started stronger with Pham Hoang Quynh the lynchpin pushing her team forward and just ten minutes in, they got the lead they were looking for when Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung came from the outside to score.
Myanmar tried to push forward in numbers but they just can’t seem to get past the centre of the park as the Vietnam defence continued to frustrate them.
The best that Myanmar could muster before the break was a curling shot from Win Theinggi Tun that forced an excellent save from Vietnam custodian Khong Thi Hang.
The second half was all Vietnam as Nguyen Thi Van grind out a grounder in the 68th minute as Pham Hai Yen then finished things off two minutes later for the Vietnam win.
“It is a much harder game today but I am glad that our players got the experience,” said Myanmar head coach Win Thu Moe.
“The result was not good but at least we tried.”
Sources: ASEAN Football Federation