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AFF U23 Championship

AFF U23 Championship: Timor-Leste qualify for knockouts after beating Cambodia 1-0

10:25 PM MYT 20/02/2022
Cambodia vs Timor Leste U23
Cambodia in uncertain waters after shock loss to Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste qualified for the knockouts of the ongoing AFF U23 Championship after beating Cambodia 1-0 in their group stage encounter at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh Cambodia. Yue Safy's misplaced clearance which resulted in an (18') own goal proved to be the difference between the two sides.

The victors showed more urgency and purpose as they started raiding Cambodia's fort right from the first whistle. Mouzinho de Lima was in the thick of things with the midfielder making his side tick courtesy of his shooting and varied passing skills.

Cambodia's keeper Hul Kimhuy had to make made a slew of saves in the first quarter to keep the scores unchanged. However, his resistance broke down in the 18th minute when Joao Halle's cross from the right was headed into the net by his own teammate Yue Safy.

The goal was a wake-up call for the hosts as only after falling behind they started to show cohesion and intensity in their gameplay. Nhean Sosidan was getting more touches on the ball and the midfielder started to play in tandem with Sieng Chanthea who was leading the lines. Around the half-hour mark, Sa Ty had a crack at goal but his attempt was blocked.

Timor-Leste defenders did pretty well to weather the storm and keep the scoreline unchanged before the match once again returned to balance. In the 33rd minute, Lima could have got the second goal from a free-kick but Kimhuy put his best foot forward and made a diving save. Kimhuy was once again called into action just before half-time when Gali's free-kick was destined to ripple the net until he made a fingertip save.

However, the complexion of the match changed in the second half with Cambodia coming out of the tunnel with all guns blazing. Sosidan and Sin Sovanmakara started pulling the strings and Chanthea got more involved in the attacking third. Meanwhile, Timor-Leste were trying to break their rhythm with soft fouls which also slowed down the pace of the game.

Cambodia, backed by a roaring crowd, further upped the ante in the final 15 minutes of the game. Hirose Ryu introduced dependable forward Narong Kakada, Ny Sokry and San Kimheng in the mix but the substitutes failed to have the desired impact.

At the back of this win, Timor Leste qualify for the knockouts as Group A champions. However, Cambodia's fate hangs by a thread as they now have to depend on the other result between in Group C for a probable semifinal berth.