Frenz United Malaysia blew away the lead and a great chance of burying Chonburi FC in the Asia Champions Trophy (ACT) Under-16 Group B match but instead allowed the Thais to steal a point in this dramatic encounter which ended 1-1 at Frenz Stadium in Janda Baik, Pahang, recently.
It was a match that the Malaysians were bent on turning the tide around this time after defending champions Chonburi pulled off a sensational 4-3 win in the first-leg encounter back home in the season opener on May 17.
Frenz United Malaysia went ahead in the 85th minute when Mohamed Akhmar Haiqal nodded on Abdul Rahman Ismawi’s freekick but the Thais got back on level terms through Saittichok Pasa’ powerful shot from the top of the box which denied the hosts a famous win.
The Thais, however, will be without midfielder Kritsada Kaman in the next two games after he was red-carded for a vicious tackle on Hafizuddin Zuki a minute before the equaliser.
Black Dragons coach Matdinos Talib remained humble and hailed his defenders for playing their best match to-date after seven weeks of action in the tournament which boasts US$100,000 in prize money.
“It was a very good and tough game though we should have won by more goals,” said Matdonis.
“We held on well until a lapse in concentration at the very last minute saw the Thais equalise,” added Matdinos.
“Overall I am quite satisfied with the performance of my players as we dominated the match but were very unlucky,” he added.
Chonburi FC top the group with 17 points, Frenz United Malaysia stayed close on 16 points while Phnom Penh Crown FC is a distant third with 10 points.
With three more weeks of action remaining, it is almost certain that Chonburi FC and Frenz United Malaysia have won passages into the home and away semi-finals.
Chonburi FC head coach Withaya Laohakul said: “Frenz United Malaysia is a very good side and it is always tough against them. Though we were down by a goal, the determination shown by the players is very encouraging.
“We did well in this match and we will keep on working hard to win this Championship,” he added.
In Group A, Harimau Muda Under-16 Malaysia whipped Singapore’s Home United FC 6-2, PVF Vietnam edged AIFF India 2-0 and Frenz United Indonesia overcame Timor Leste 2-0.
Despite the big win over the Singaporeans, the young tigers have positioned themselves in a precarious situation and chances of advancing into the semi-finals stage remains dicey.
The Vietnamese have built a strong lead at the top of the standings with 19 points following six wins and a draw while the young Tigers are a distant second on 14 points and shadowed closely by Frenz United Indonesia on 13 points.
Harimau Muda U-16 coach V. Balachandran’s boys faced Timor Leste last Saturday before going on to face two tough home and away matches against leaders PVF on July 12 and July 19.
Defeats in both matches against the Vietnamese will open the door for Frenz United Indonesia to move into the semi-finals.
The Indonesians are just one point behind the Malaysians on 13 points.
Group A: Frenz United Indonesia 2 Timor Leste
U- 16 0; Home United Singapore 2 Harimau
Muda U- 16 Malaysia 6; PVF Vietnam 3 AIFF India
Group B: – Phnom Penh Crown FC Cambodia 2
Guangdong FA China 1; LAO Toyota Laos 0
Myanmar Academy FC 0; Frenz United Malaysia
1 Chonburi FC Thailand 1