Cambodia snatched a gritty 1-0 win over Philippines at the Morodock techno National Stadium in Phnom Penh on Thursday evening in the ongoing AFF U23 Championship. Sin Sovannmakara (81′) proved to be the difference-maker between the two teams as his solitary goal not only handed the three points to Cambodia but also consolidated the top spot in the group.
It was end-to-end action right from the first whistle as both teams were going at each other with hammers and tongs to take an early lead. In the 16th minute, Cambodia skipper Tes Sambath jumped the highest to get his head on to a corner floated in by Nhean Sosidan but his attempted header came off the crossbar. A couple of minutes later, Philippines’ Sandro Reyes responded in equal measure as he dribbled past two Cambodian defenders and unleashed a fierce strike at goal which required Hul Kimhuy to put his best foot forward under the sticks to keep that shot out.
In fact, both shotstoppers had to be on their toes in the first quarter as the strikers kept bombarding them with valiant shots on goal. However, as the match progressed Cambodia started to enjoy more possession and gained control at the centre of the park. Sieng Chanthea and Sa Ty also began to play in tandem which was causing a lot of trouble to the Philippine backline. In the 35th minute, the latter fired a shot from just outside the box but his attempt went whiskers wide of the post. In the final minutes of the first half, Cambodia’s domination further grew but a resolute Philippines team held their fort.