Laos Beats Malaysia in First Match of AFF U23 Championship

Bounkong scores as Laos beats Malaysia in AFF U23 Championship
Bounkong scores as Laos beats Malaysia in AFF U23 Championship.

Laos took a 2-1 victory over Malaysia in the team’s first match of the AFF U23 Championship on Friday afternoon.

Laos and Malaysia faced off during the Group B match of the 3rd edition of the ASEAN Football Federation’s U23 Championship held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Despite Malaysia taking the lead with a goal from Selvan Anbualagan, Laos grabbed three points thanks to goals from Bounphachan Bounkong and Phetdavanh Somsanid.

With Malaysia in front for the beginning of the match and launching several attacks in the first half, Laos handled their defense well, although just before halftime, Anbualagan got a shot past Lao keeper Keo Oudone.

Laos began to gain control in the second half, with Chanthavixay Khounthoumphone sending a cross from the right wing that was scooped up by Bounkong, who dribbled past Malaysian defenders and unleashed a powerful shot past Malaysian goalkeeper Sikh Izahan and into the net.

Malaysian goalkeeper struggles with onslaught from Laos
Malaysian goalkeeper Sikh Izahan struggles with onslaught from Lao team.

With confidence boosted, Laos took the lead after Bounkong’s free-kick was converted. He delivered the ball high, and centre back Phetdavanh Somsanid outpaced his marker with a header that brought the home country’s second, and winning goal.

Laos earned the unfortunate nickname, “Lowly Laos” for its poor reputation in regional football, however, this victory could help the country shake the moniker.

Newly appointed coach Michael Weiss said that winning the first match against Malaysia was no easy feat.

“Malaysia will certainly want to steal a win back from our team, and so we will have to train harder than ever to ensure another victory for our fans,” he said.

Laos and Malaysia will go head to head again on 21 February to compete for a place in the knockouts.