Qualifiers - Group G: Cambodia edge Thailand, Malaysia stay perfect
Phnom Penh: It will be all to play for in Group G of the AFC U-19 Championship Uzbekistan 2020 Qualifiers after Cambodia edged Thailand 2-1 and Malaysia defeated Northern Mariana Islands 10-0 at the National Olympic Stadium on Friday.
Cambodia's win propelled them back into contention after having suffered a defeat on Matchday One while Malaysia recorded their third straight victory.
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Malaysia 10-0 Northern Mariana Islands
Malaysia went into the tie knowing they had to win to stay in sight of the Finals and pressed Northern Mariana Islands from the start.
Northern Mariana Islands, having lost their three previous matches, could only hold Malaysia at bay for seven minutes before forward Mohd Aiman Afif put the Southeast Asians ahead.
Malaysia doubled their lead just two minutes later with Muhammad Hazim Abu Zaid on target this time.
Muhammad Aidil Azuan made it 3-0 (20th minute) for Malaysia, who had defeated Cambodia (5-4) and Brunei Darussalam (11-0) in their earlier matches, with Muhammad Fahmi Daniel adding the fourth in first half stoppage time.
There was to be no respite for Northern Mariana Islands in the second half as Mohd Aiman scored his second moments into the restart.
Malaysia, hoping to match Thailand's 21-0 defeat of Northern Mariana Islands, pressed hard and Muhammad Fahmi scored his second in the 56th minute.
Muhammad Firdaus Ramli converted a penalty in the 64th minute and Muhammad Azrul Haikal made it 8-0 two minutes later.
Aiman then completed his hat-trick in the 74th before scoring his fourth in the 79th minute to ensure Malaysia's qualification hopes lie in their own hands.
Cambodia 2-1 Thailand
Cambodia knew only three points would suffice against a Thailand side that had won their opening two matches and the home team started the better of the two.
Thailand, however, also showed their quality as action swung end to end but Cambodia's determination was finally rewarded in the 16th minute as Met Samel put them ahead.
The lead was doubled 10 minutes later with captain Sieng Chanthea the scorer as Thailand were left shocked.
The Thais fought valiantly in the second half to get back into the match but their efforts yielded only one goal, with Channarong Promsrikaew reducing the deficit.
The result now means Thailand will have to beat Malaysia and Cambodia fail to win against Brunei Darussalam on Sunday to claim top spot and a place in the 2020 Finals.
The 11 group winners and four best runners-up will join hosts Uzbekistan in the 2020 Finals.
Tajikistan have already qualified as Group C winners and should Uzbekistan finish either top of Group F of the Qualifiers or are among the best four second-placed teams, the fifth best runners-up will qualify.
Group A of the Qualifiers - featuring Iraq, Oman, Palestine, Kuwait and Pakistan - will be played on November 22-30 in Muscat, Oman.
Photos: Football Federation of Cambodia
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