The narrow possibility of Cambodia’s advancement to the semifinals of the Asean Football Federation youth championship vanished Monday as Cambodia surrendered a commanding two-goal lead to draw with Malaysia 3-3.
Following Saturday’s riots, during which spectators smashed vehicles and threw rocks at police, 500 military police and anti-riot police officers with truncheons and riot shields were deployed around Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium.
Previous matches had been policed by only 140 officers, however the Football Federation of Cambodia said security would be heightened at the remaining five matches.
Cambodia dominated the first half, with goals from captain Keo Sokngon and midfielder Oum Kumpheak in the 9th and 27th minutes.
In the second half, Malaysia found the net at the hour mark with a goal from Saiful Ridzuwan bin Selamat, however Keo Sokngon outwitted the Malaysian defenders and scored again from outside the penalty area in the 68th minute.
Cambodia appeared to collapse in the final 20 minutes, allowing Malaysia’s Saarvindran Devandrn and Muhammad Fuad bin Mamat to fire shots over the head of Cambodian keeper Peng Bunchay in the 79th and 85th minutes.
“We made mistakes,” Cambodia manager Prak Sovannara said following the match, which was played before about 26,000. “We received a lot of pressure. Whenever they lost [a goal], they attacked strongly.”
A defeat of Malaysia and a Thai defeat of, or draw with Indonesia in Monday’s second match, played simultaneously at Daun Penh district’s Army Stadium, would have given Cambodia a place at Thursday’s semifinals.
Group A leaders Thailand lost 2-1 but will nonetheless advance with Indonesia, according to the AFF.
Laos and Vietnam are to face each other at 3 pm today in the final Group B match, the outcome of which will determine whether Burma or Laos join Vietnam in advancing to the semifinals.
With two draws, a victory and a defeat, fourth-place Cambodia bows out of the championship with five points, having scored seven goals and conceded six.