Laos hits form in 4-nations triumph !!!

Posted by samakomlao Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Photo: Lamnao Singto ( centre ) shows his fancy footwork as he attempts to get the ball past a Malaysian defender.

The U-23 Lao football team wrapped up an unbeaten run at the 4-Nations Football Tournament last night with a 1-1 draw with Malaysia in front of home fans at the new 20,000-seat National Stadium in Vientiane

About 16,000 supporters turned out to watch the match, including a contingent of Malaysian fans.

The Lao side started their attack early, but had difficulty penetrating the Malaysian defence. The first half ended in a nil-nil draw.

However, the home team's game improved in the second half, proving more dangerous for the Malaysian defenders. During the second half the U-23s had a lot opportunities to score and take the lead, but several of their shots were off target.

In the 53rd minute, Lamnao Singto dribbled the ball past three of the Malaysian defenders before hitting the back of the net, but the referee called him off-side.

In the 70th minute, Lamnao shot again, but this time the ball soared over the crossbar. Another salvo was stopped by an excellent save from Malaysian keeper Muhammad Zamir B Selamat in the 74th minute.

The first goal for the Lao side came in the 81st minute, when Paseuthsack Souliyavong put the ball past the Malaysian keeper and into the net, thanks to an accurate cross from Lamnao in the penalty area.

However, the Lao side and their fans were able to enjoy this goal-scoring display for only one minute, with Malaysian team captain Mohamad Muslim Bin Ahmad heading the ball into the net at the opposite end in the 82nd minute.

No more goals were recorded, and the game ended in a draw.

Lao team manager Viphet Sihachackr said his team needed further improvement.

“I can say that the team's performance in this match is not satisfactory for me because we can see our team is not as strong as Malaysia , as they couldn't vie for the ball. We will improve this in the 60 days before the SEA Games.”

Malaysia 's coach Ong Kim Swee commended the Lao team on its performance.

“This was a big game for Laos because of the new stadium and we can see that the Lao team is better than previously as they made our players so tired tonight.

“Many players in the team were nervous in the earlier games, with the new stadium and many fans, particularly on the first day,” striker Lamnao Singto said.

“So in the second match we were getting better, and then this match we tried hard to win, but could only draw.”

Despite the game ending with a draw and without a goal from Lamnao, thousands of Lao football fans will remember the talented striker who wears jersey No. 8.

After last night's showing, fans hope to see Lamnao lead the team to victory at the upcoming SEA Games in December. They also hope to see their team continue to improve on their performances in the 4-Nations Tournament.

Laos began the tournament with a 2-2 draw with Vietnam and followed this with a crushing 3-0 defeat over Thailand .

In another match yesterday, Thailand defeated Vietnam 3-1. The tournament was intended to include all U-23 teams, but Thailand , Vietnam , and Malaysia confirmed they would replace their U-23 squads with U-19s.

Despite failed hopes to see all four U-23 teams on the field, thousands of Lao football fans attended to cheer on the Lao team at all matches in the new stadium.

The Lao U-23 side is currently preparing for the SEA Games under the expert eye of Austrian coach Mr Alfred Riedl.

The Lao team hopes to battle to the semi finals against a raft of strong opponents at the SEA Games, having never reached this placing at previous games.

However, their latest performance at the 4-Nations Tournament has shown that the Lao team has greatly improved, while also highlighting areas that need more development before taking to the field in the fast-approaching SEA Games.

The 4-Nations was not only a vital warm up for the national football team, but also a test of the new stadium facilities and TV broadcast crew in the lead up to the games.

The next international game for the Lao side will be in Phnom Penh at the Cambodia Royal Cup from November 8-13.

Laos will take on the Cambodian U-23 team, who are also preparing for the SEA Games, and also Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Vissai Ninh Binh football clubs of Vietnam .

The prize at the Cambodia Royal Cup is US$20,000 for the winner and US$10,000 and US$5,000 respectively for runners up.

The event was planned to help strengthen the countries' solidarity and friendly cooperation and mark the 56th anniversary of Cambodian National Day.

By Sisay Vilaysack

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