Hosts Laos beat Indonesia 2-0 to take the lead in Group B as Singapore kept up the pressure for a place in the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Myanmar in the two matches that were played at the Chao Anuvong Stadium in Vientiane, Monday.
Buoyed by a capacity crowd, Laos did not pull back any punches against the defending silver medallists Myanmar as the action swung from end to end to put the spectators at the edge of their seats.
With neither team able to find the back of the net, the score stood all tied at the half as Laos head coach Alfred Riedl look to put further pressure on the Indonesians after the break.
And while Indonesia tried to look for their own goal through the partnership of Boaz Salossa and Engel Bert Sani after the restart, the duo just can’t seem to work in tandem as their offensive play often breaks down even before they get into the Laotian box.
Laos’ reliance on Lamnao Singto was not unfounded when in the 66th minute, he picked up a long pass from midfield before unleashing a stiff grounder which Indonesian keeper Frenky Irawan tried in vain to stop as it went between his legs for the lead.
Indonesia went forward to look for the equaliser gamely and just when they were making headway, Lamnao was again in his element as he punished the Indonesian defence for a defensive lapse to blast the ball into an empty goal.
In the meantime, Singapore dumped defending SEA Games silver medallists Myanmar 2-1 in the other group match.
Defender Mohd Safuwan Baharuddin gave the Young Lions the lead in the seventh minute when he nodded home the corner from Mohd Shaiful Esah Nain.
Three minutes later, Myanmar fought back with a shot from Pai Soe from the edge of the box but was cleared on the line by Mohd Afiq Yunos.
But Singapore grabbed their second goal of the afternoon in the 29th minute when Hariss Harun headed the ball in off a similar corner to put the pressure on Myanmar.
A flurry of attempts came from Myanmar where in the 35th minute, a Han Win Aung’s free kick went straight to Singapore keeper Mohd Hyrulnizam Jumaat while four minutes later, a short pass from Yaza Win Thein was blasted into the side netting by striker Kyaw Thi Ha.
Myanmar’s frustration drifted into the second half but in spite of their hard work, Singapore custodian Mohd Hyrulnizam just stood his ground with several excellent saves.
With seconds remaining on the clock, Myanmar finally broke the Singapore cagey defence when Soe Min Oo found the space and time to slot home from the edge of the Singapore box for their first goal.
But by then, it was already a little too late as referee Vo Minh Tri then blew the final whistle not too long afterwards. -AFF.