AFF Women's Championship

Thailand on cloud nine, Malaysia off the mark


Chonburi: Thailand stormed to the top of Group A with a 9-0 win over Timor-Leste, while Malaysia kept their knockout stage hopes alive by beating Singapore 4-0 as the 2019 AFF Women’s Championship continued to take shape at the Chonburi IPE Stadium on Monday.

The group is now a battle between three teams after Timor-Leste and Singapore were both eliminated with two Matchdays to spare, with Malaysia now the only side that can challenge frontrunners Thailand and the Philippines for a top-two finish.

Monday’s results set the scene for a potentially group-defining top of the table clash between Thailand and the Philippines on Wednesday.

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THAILAND 9-0 TIMOR-LESTE

Thailand surged to their second successive win, leapfrogging the Philippines on goal difference to take top spot in Group A.

The resounding win is the second in a row for the defending champions, who have made an impressive start to life under new head coach Naurephon Kaenson.

The Chaba Kaew can now confirm their place in the semi-finals with a win against the Philippines on Wednesday, while losses to both of Group A’s unbeaten sides means Timor-Leste can no longer advance to the knockout stage.

It took just 30 seconds for an experimental Thailand side to take the lead through Jaruwan Chaiyarak, and it appeared it would be a matter of how many when an own goal doubled their lead just 10 minutes later.

But Timor-Leste managed to stem the tide, at least until the 45th minute, when some dazzling wide play from Nutwadee Pram-Nak set up Orapin Waenngoen for a close-range finish.

Veteran forward Kanjana Sung-Ngoen had lurked without reward throughout the first half, but she finally got her name on the scoresheet in the 50th minute, before adding an emphatic second 10 minutes later as the floodgates began to open.

Miranda Nild entered the fray and scored with her first touch to make it 6-0 in the 62nd minute, then played a key role in the construction of the seventh goal, scored by fellow substitute Pitsami Sornsai in the following minute.

With Timor-Leste’s drought-breaking win over Singapore last Thursday now a distant memory, Lee Min-young’s side fought hard to limit the damage, but they couldn’t prevent Waenngoen and Nild adding goals eight and nine in the dying stages as Thailand firmly underlined their status as tournament favourites.


MALAYSIA 4-0 SINGAPORE

Earlier, Malaysia kept their semi-final hopes alive with a commanding 4-0 win over neighbours Singapore, who slumped to their third successive defeat to confirm their group stage exit.

Two goals in each half underscored what was a comprehensive display from Malaysia, who move to three points from two matches following last Thursday’s 3-0 defeat to the Philippines.

After a promising start, Jacob Joseph’s side took control of the cross-Causeway fixture in the 26th minute, going ahead when Singapore failed to track Nurul Izzati Zainol’s off-the-ball run to allow her the simplest of close-range finishes.

Lovelytha Jelus was rewarded for a busy first-half when she headed home the second from a corner kick nine minutes later, and Malaysia were out of sight when Jaciah Jumilis was left unchecked to slam home a third 10 minutes after the interval.

Malaysia didn’t let up, carving out a succession of chances before Shereilynn Pius scored what was, by some distance, the goal of the afternoon, brilliantly lobbing the ball over goalkeeper Beatrice Tan from the left flank in the 80th minute to round out the victory in some style.

While their win gets them off the mark, Malaysia still have plenty of work to do if they are to reach the knockout stage, with unbeaten Thailand and the Philippines currently occupying the top two spots in Group A.

Malaysia will face Timor-Leste on Wednesday, while Singapore have a four-day rest before their final match against the Philippines on Friday.

Tuesday’s fixtures (all times local): Myanmar v Vietnam (15:00), Cambodia v Indonesia (18:00).

Photos: Football Association of Thailand

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