After Draw in Macau, Cambodia Advances in World Cup Quest

Cambodia cruised through the first round of World Cup qualifiers last night with a 1-1 draw against Macau to add to Thursday’s 3-0 first-leg demolition of their opponent in Phnom Penh.

The national side, along with the other successful countries from the first round, will now enter a group stage alongside 34 higher ranked teams in the second phase of qualification for a place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and could come up against the likes of Japan or Australia.

Cambodia scored the first goal in Tuesday’s match in the 26th minute with a left-footed free kick from Cambodian-French midfielder Thierry Bin Chantha, clipping the cross bar and dropping over the line.

The Cambodian players settled into cruise control at the Macau Olympic Complex for the remainder of the first half, controlling the majority of possession and giving Macau few opportunities in front of goal.

However, Cambodia’s hopes for another shutout were ruined in the 51st minute as a result of some clumsy defending from Sok Sovan, clipping Macau’s Pang Chi Hang as he entered the box. Leong Ka Hang slotted the penalty into the net to make it 1-1.

The Cambodians sat back and soaked up pressure from their opponents for the rest of the game and would have grabbed a winner in the 68th minute if Va Sokthorn had not failed to convert on an open goal.

Elsewhere Tuesday, Bhutan—the lowest FIFA-ranked team on the planet—pulled off the shock of the round by beating Sri Lanka 2-1 at home to add to their 1-0 away win last week.

India beat Nepal 2-0 after a surprise 0-0 first-leg draw and East Timor prevailed over Mongolia again, winning 5-1 over the two legs. Chinese Taipai scraped into the next round, beating Brunei 2-0 after losing the first leg 1-0.

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