Chonburi: Timor Leste enjoyed an emphatic start as they shot to the top of Group A after securing a 7-1 win over the Philippines on the opening day of the AFF Under-15 Championship on Saturday.
Defending champions Indonesia also started on a winning note, defeating Vietnam 2-0 while Myanmar and Singapore played to a goalless draw.
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Timor-Leste 7-1 Philippines
Timor-Leste were celebrating after just four minutes as Paulo Freitas cracked the Philippines defence to claim the opening goal. It was the start of what would be a massive win for Timor-Leste and Kim Shin-hwan was pleased with his team’s performance.
“The performance was good today. They played according to instructions, and we hope to win the next game. There are some areas to work on but we will improve, we want to be the champions.”
Timor-Leste added a second through Serafin Brito but Philippines' Domic D. Tom surprised them with a fine effort just before the break.
Timor-Leste, however, started the second half strongly and Paulo starred with three more goals in the 42nd, 55th and 58th minutes while William Quintas Vong (53rd) and Alexandro Kefi (56th) netted one each to put the final score at 7-1.
Vietnam 0-2 Indonesia
Vietnam pushed hard for an early goal and had a great chance in the 18th minute when they were awarded a penalty but Vo Anh Quan’s low strike to the right was well saved by keeper I Made Putra Kaicen.
Fired up by I Made's save, Indonesia scored off a breakaway in the 40th minute as Wahyu Agong Drajat Mulyono raced down the right and crossed to the centre to Valeroen, who coolly slipped the ball past the Vietnam keeper.
Six minutes after the break, Vietnam were stumped when Indonesia added a second through Marselino Ferdinand.
Indonesia coach, Bima Sakti said: “The opening game is always difficult, there were a number of things that need to be improved. It’s a good start but the tournament still has a long way to go, we have another four matches. I’ve told the players not to worry and play their game."
Myanmar 0-0 Singapore
Singapore head coach Philippe Aw said he was happy to start with a point after his team settled for a 0-0 draw with Myanmar.
“It was a tough match against Myanmar, they are very good and fast on counter attacks, for us our chances came from set-pieces. The boys worked very hard. Overall a 0-0 start in the tournament is good, we are happy we did not start with a defeat. One point is a positive thing for us."
Myanmar coach Torssten Frank Spittler, who took charge just over a week ago, saw great potential in his charges.
“In the end we deserved to get the win, we had more chances than Singapore. Singapore were playing to their advantage, with their tall players and playing high balls. Some points are starting to work already, some not yet. There is potential in the team, there are good players in the team. We have to get them working now.”
The teams are using the AFF Under-15 Championship to prepare for the Qualifiers of the 2020 AFC U-16 Championship, which will be played in September.
Indonesia 2-0 Vietnam; Timor Leste 7-1 Philippines; Myanmar 0-0 Singapore
Sunday (all times local)
Malaysia vs Brunei (15.00); Cambodia vs Australia (15.30); Laos vs Thailand (18.00)
Sources: ASEAN Football Federation, Football Association of Thailand