Azkals bow to Thais in AFF U-19 (Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines – After hurdling its opening-day assignment, the Philippines faltered against powerhouse Thailand and dropped a 1-4 setback in Group A of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Championship at the National Sports Complex in Vientiane, Laos.

The Pinoy booters conceded three goals in the first half and couldn’t turn things around anymore, allowing the fancied Thais to storm to their second straight win for a leading six points.

Phl U-19, which defeated Brunei last Saturday, 2-1, got stuck with three points for fourth spot in the group and found itself in a must-win situation to keep its semis hopes alive.

Host Laos vaulted to second with four points after a 5-0 whitewash of Brunei Thursday. Cambodia also has four markers.

The Filipinos face the Cambodians next, gunning for the full points to stay in the hunt for a semis berth.

“We have three points and still with a chance. We must win our remaining games. The one against Cambodia will be interesting,” said Phl coach Dan Padernal.

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Skipper Worachit Kanitsrihumphen put Thailand on the board against Phl just nine minutes in the game, then Sansern Limwatthana doubled the lead 12 minutes later. Suksan Mungpao blasted a brace (30′ and 51′) to put the game beyond reach.

Mark Anthony Winhoffer converted a spot kick in the 81st to prevent a shutout loss for Phl.

“We had planned to hold them 0-0 in the first half and our defenders tried to block them but then they got through. The Thais are certainly a good side especially with No. 10 (Sansern) and 27 (Anon Amornlertsak) controlling the midfield,” said Padernal.