Singapore to meet Indonesia; Thais face Malaysia, Vietnam

Hosts Singapore’s hopes of advancing to the semi-finals of the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were handed a boost on Wednesday after they were handed a fairly favourable draw.

Seeded as hosts for the Under-23 tournament, the Lions were drawn in Group A alongside Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Philippines.

With only the top two progressing to the last four, it looks like Singapore will be battling for qualification with the Indonesians and Myanmar.

Nonetheless, Cambodia will be confident in their prospects having recorded a 2-1 win over Singapore just last month, while Philippines have taken huge strides in recent years and are now considered a legitimate threat in the region.

But it appears most of the drama will come in Group B after defending champions Thailand were pitted against 2011 winners Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste.

Under Kiatisuk Senamuang, who also guided the senior team to victory at the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup, the Thais are favourites to finish top with Malaysia and Vietnam expected to battle it out for the second qualifying berth.

However, with the likes of Soukaphone Vongchiengkham and Ketsada Souksavanh to call upon, Laos could just spring an upset or two along the way.

2015 Southeast Asian Games Draw

Group A: Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Philippines

Group B: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste

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Malaysia edge Vietnam to set up Indonesia semi

Defending champions Malaysia are through to the semi-finals of the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games are beating Vietnam 2-1 on Tuesday to finish top of Group A.

Holding a one-point lead over their opponents ahead of their clash at the Zayyarthiri Stadium, Harimau Muda only needed to avoid defeat to secure top spot in the group and join already-qualified Singapore in the last four.

However, the Malaysians found themselves under tremendous pressure in the opening 45 as Vietnam looked determined to grab the opener, only to be denied by some excellent goalkeeping by Izham Tarmizi.

As Malaysia continued to stand strong despite wave after wave of attacks from their opponents, it began to look as though they would do enough for the draw that would see them qualify for the last four.

But ten minutes from time, it was them who finally broke the deadlock against the run of play when D. Saarvindran’s right-wing cross sailed over Thamil Arasu but landed kindly for Ashri Chuchu, who made no mistake in blasting a left-footed shot into the back of the net.

And just as the clock ticked over into injury-time, they added a second to kill off the contest as they hit their opponents on the counter; Irfan Fazail playing an incisive pass to Saarvindran, who skipped inside his man before firing past Tran Buu Ngoc at his near post.

Vietnam did manage to pull one back in the 95th minute when Mac Hong Quan scored on the rebound after his initial effort had been saved by Izham, but it proved little more than a consolation.

As a result of finishing top of Group A, Harimau Muda will now meet Indonesia in Thursday’s semi-finals in what will be a rematch of the 2011 final, while Thailand meet Singapore in the other last-four encounter.

In Tuesday’s late kickoff, Brunei ended their campaign pointless after falling to a 3-2 loss at the hands of Laos.

The Bruneians did manage to score their first goal of the tournament in the 34th minute when Mazizi Mazlan found the back of the net, but Laos took just four minutes to equalise through a Ketsada Souksavanh strike.

A minute after the break, the Laotians edged ahead when Soukaphone Vongchiengkam scored his second goal of the Games, before Vilayout Xayyabounaou stretched their lead even further with a third in the 52nd minute.

Brunei did manage to pull one back seven minutes from time thanks to an Azwan Ali effort but they were just unable to pull level, and ended bottom of the group pointless while Thim Xad finished in fourth with four points.

Tuesday’s 2013 SEA Games Group A Results

Malaysia 2-1 Vietnam

Laos 3-2 Brunei

Malaysia cruise past Laos; Singapore stay top

Defending champions Malaysia made it two wins from two at the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after beating Group A opponents Laos 4-1 on Friday.

Fresh off the back of a 2-0 win over Brunei in their opening game, Harimau Muda edged ahead  after seven minutes when Ahmad Hazwan Bakri rifled home a right-footed shot after his initial effort had been blocked.

However, the Laotians equalised four minutes before halftime when Soukaphone Vongchiengkam met Khonesavanh Sivahong’s freekick with a glancing header past Izham Tarmizi, only for Hazwan to restore his side’s lead on the hour mark; racing onto Irfan Fazail’s lovely lofted pass and sending the ball into the bottom corner with an acrobatic volley.

Ten minutes from time, the contest was all but ended when Laos centre-back Ketsada Souksavanh, in a desperate attempt to cut out D. Saarvindran’s cross, could only prod the ball into his own net.

But the night belonged to Hazwan and seven minutes later, he completed his hat-trick when he finished off Nazmi Faiz’s cross to round off the scoring for Malaysia.

Nonetheless, Malaysia remain second in the group after Singapore stayed top with a 2-0 win over Brunei in Friday’s late kickoff.

Aide Iskandar’s charges took the lead five minutes after the half-hour mark when captain Hariss Harun exquisitely brought down Safuwan Baharudin’s flick-on header, before firing home from just inside the box.

And in the 58th minute, the three points were secured after Sahil Suhaimi held off Hazwan Hamzah before finishing with his left foot, for his third goal in as many games.

To make matters worse for the Bruneians, they ended the game with ten men after Khairil Shahme Suhaimi was sent off seven minutes later following an off-the-ball incident with Sahil.

Singapore will now be looking to seal their progress to the semi-finals with a win over Malaysia on Sunday, while Laos take on Vietnam.

Friday’s 2013 SEA Games Group A Results

Malaysia 4-1 Laos

Brunei 0-2 Singapore

Malaysia open title defence with Brunei win; Singapore edge Vietnam

Malaysia got their bid for a third consecutive Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medal off to a winning start after beating Brunei 2-0 on Tuesday.

Harimau Muda, who were not in action in Sunday’s opening round of Group A matches, opened the scoring at the Zayyarthiri Stadium a minute after the half-hour mark when Rozaimi Abdul Rahman raced onto Irfan Fazail’s visionary through-pass and clinically sent a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

Although they constantly found themselves on the back foot, Brunei had an excellent chance to equalise just before the break after a poor pass from opposition goalkeeper Izham Tarmizi led to a clear opening for Azwan Ali, but K. Reuben showed great awareness to race across and deflect the DPMM FC man’s snapshot.

But Malaysia continued to remain in control of proceedings and the three points were eventually wrapped up in the 71st minute when Ashri Chuchu, receiving possession on the edge of the box after patient build-up, sent a blistering drive past Ak Omar Aqammaddin.

In Tuesday’s late kickoff, Singapore bounced back from their 1-1 draw with Laos as they claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Vietnam.

The only goal of the game came on the stroke of halftime after Vietnam failed to deal with a Zulfahmi Arifin corner, allowing Sahil Suhaimi to fire in a shot that was deflected by Pham Manh Hung past his own goalkeeper.

However, the Cubs came under severe pressure after the break, especially in the final ten minutes of the game, but defenders Safuwan Baharudin and Afiq Yunos stood tall to help them claim their first win of the tournament.

Tuesday’s 2013 SEA Games Group A Results

Brunei 0-2 Malaysia

Vietnam 0-1 Singapore

Big win for Vietnam in SEA Games opener; Singapore held by Laos

Vietnam got their 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games campaign off to a winning start on Sunday after cruising to a 7-0 win over Brunei at the Zayyarthiri Stadium.

Vu Minh Tuan opened the scoring for the Vietnamese in the 22nd minute, before Ha Minh Tuan added a second three minutes later.

Thanh Hoa attacker Le Van Thang then scored in the 44th minute to give his side a commanding lead at the break, before he doubled his tally eight minutes into the second half.

But although the three points were all but in the bag, Vietnam refused to take their foot off the pedal; Tran Manh Dung netting their fifth in the 66th minute and Mac Hong Quan getting in on the act two minutes later, before Tran Phi Son struck eight minutes from time to round off the scoring.

In Sunday’s late kickoff, Singapore were unable to make the most of their numerical advantage as they were held to a 1-1 draw by ten-man Laos.

Aide Iskandar’s charges were handed a real boost after just 90 seconds when the Laotians were reduced to ten men after captain Saychon Khunsamnan was shown a straight red for a dangerous challenge on Shahfiq Ghani.

And three minutes before the half-hour mark, Singapore duly took the lead Sahil Suhaimi raced onto Shahfiq’s over-the-top ball before firing into the bottom corner.

But despite creating a host of chances, the Lions were unable to extend their lead and were made to pay four minutes from time when Laos substitute Khouanta Sivongthong headed home Soukaphone Vongchiengkam’s freekick to force the draw.

The action in Group A continues on Tuesday when Brunei take on defending champions Malaysia, while Vietnam take on Singapore.

Sunday’s 2013 SEA Games Group A Results

Vietnam 7-0 Brunei

Singapore 1-1 Laos