Thailand aims to stay unbeaten as it faces Cambodia in U19 qualifier

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Cambodian national team members practice before their next game in AFC U19 qualifier. CFF

Thailand will try to remain unbeaten as it faces Cambodia today in the ongoing 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U19 Group G qualifier.

The Thailand versus Cambodia will be played at the Olympic Stadium starting 6:30 pm. The first game (3:30 pm) will pit Malaysia versus the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

The Thais, which are fresh from a lopsided 21-0 win against the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), are expected to rely on the fearsome trio of forwards Suphanat Mueanta, Achitpol Keereerom, and Phadungkiat Artkitkran.

The trio have scored a total of 17 goals in the tournament, nine of them courtesy of Suphanat, who has been unstoppable on the offensive end.

The Thais could also rely on attacking midfielder Channarong Promsrikaew and forward Waragon Thongbai to add punch to their offense.

Thai goalkeeper Thirawooth Sraunson is also expected to play a key role in the match.

Cambodia, meanwhile, is expected to ride on the shoulders of forwards Sieng Chanthea, Lim Pisoth, and Thy Lieng.

The trio, who has combined for seven goals so far, has been instrumental in Cambodia’s strong showing against Malaysia and CNMI earlier. The Koupreys narrowly lost to Malaysia, 4-5, before routing CNMI, 9-0.

Cambodia can also count on forwards Wut Tola and Ly Mael, who turned out outstanding performances in their game against the Malaysians and the team from Northern Mariana.

Cambodia goalkeeper Tha Chan Rity is also expected to play a critical for the Koupreys, who badly needs his goal-stopping services if they are to survive against the heavily-favoured Thais.

With a win, Thailand will further cement its chance of qualifying for the 2020 AFC U19 Championship. Only the top finishers from each of the 11 groups plus four runners-up will qualify for the next stage, which will be held in Uzbekistan in Oct 2020.

A loss means that Thailand will have to beat Malaysia in its last game on Nov 10 in order to advance. A loss by Malaysia to CNMI in its Nov 8 game will also send Thailand to the championship stage.

Currently, both countries sport an identical 2-0 record.  Thailand is ahead of Malaysia in the standings on account of goal difference.

For Cambodia, a win against Thailand, at least, assures it of a fighting chance to get the runner-up spot. A loss means that Cambodia will have no chance to qualify for the next round. Cambodia is currently in third place with a 1-1 record.

The game is expected to draw thousands of spectators.

Football is wildly popular in Cambodia, with a large following and with football fields dotting the cities and countryside. National football championships and club tournaments are also a regular fixture in this country of 16 million people.

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