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Thailand held to 2-2 draw by Laos; Indonesia thrash Malaysia 5-1
By Vu Duc - The Saigon Times Daily
Friday,  Dec 3, 2010,00:39 (GMT+7)

Calisto makes his 22-man Vietnamese squad

By Vu Duc - The Saigon Times Daily

Indonesia's Arif Suyono (R) celebrates after scoring as Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Sharbinee looks on during their qualifying round match at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2010 soccer tournament in Jakarta on Wednesday - Photo: Reuters
HCMC – Thailand were held to a 2-2 draw by underdog Laos in their opener at the Southeast Asian championship/AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday while hosts Indonesia thrashed Malaysia 5-1 in a later game.

Thailand dominated ball possession throughout the first half while the Lao side relied on rare counter attacks. Thailand had some better scoring opportunities in the first minutes of the half but the Lao side defense resiliently held out to keep a clean sheet.

The second half was a different story, Laos surprisingly took an advance in the 53rd minute when Inthammavong scored for his team with a header in a rapid attack. However, Sarayoot Chaikamdee leveled for the Thai side in the 68th minute.

Laos increased pressure after the goal and Sysomvang easily defeated Thai goalie Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool in the 82nd minute with an unstoppable kick beside the penalty box before Sarayoot scored his second goal for Thai side in the injury time, leaving the score at 2-2 upon the referee’s whistle at the end of the game.

Meanwhile, under heavy pressure from local fans, hosts Indonesia put their rivals under a lot of pressure, while the Malaysian team looked composed and confident throughout and caused the home team problems with their rare counter attacks.

Norshahrul Idlan Talaha opened the score for the Malaysian side in the 18th minute. However, the home side bounced back from the loss, Hamzani Omar equalized just three minutes later and Gonzales helped the home side advance in the 33rd minute.

The Indonesian players had the most possession over the second half and managed to create dozens of chances. Ridwan netted for his team in the 52nd minute and Arif Suyono contributed the fourth goal in the 76th minute before Bachdim finalized the game at 5-1 in the 90th minute.

Group A matches resume in Indonesia on Saturday with Thailand facing Malaysia at 5:00 p.m. and Indonesia against Laos at 7:30 p.m.

* Vietnam head coach Henrique Calisto just named a 22member squad for the AFF Cup on Wednesday, just one day before meeting Myanmar in their opener. The last players withdrawn were defender Nguyen Minh Duc, who suffered injury, veteran midfielder Tran Duy Quang and inexperienced midfielder Nguyen Ngoc Dieu.

Striker Nguyen Viet Thang, who has recovered from a minor injury in the friendly game against Singapore, remained doubtful for the games in the qualifying round while defender Huynh Quang Thanh was called back to full training.

Vietnam’s national team suffered a big loss this year as star striker Le Cong Vinh missed out because of knee injury. Earlier, former striker Pham Van Quyen has lost his chance with the national squad because of injury and halfback Mai Tien Thanh also left the national team due to injury.

Calisto faces some difficult problems in the attacking options as first-choice strikers Nguyen Viet Thang and Nguyen Anh Duc but Le Sy Manh seems to need more experience in big tournaments and perform better as a substitute.

Though many key Vietnamese footballers have suffered injury, coach Calisto has predicted his team will make a good result in its group for one of the two tickets to the semi-finals. However, the Vietnamese coach has warned his men not to underestimate Myanmar in their opener.

On Thursday, Vietnam will meet Myanmar at My Dinh National Stadium at 7:30 p.m. while Singapore will face the Philippines at 5:00 p.m. at the same venue.

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