|The U23 Azkals' gallant fight against Cambodia fell short. PFF|
MANILA—Just when the U23 Azkals thought they kept Cambodia at bay following the latter's statement win over Brunei, Sin Sovanmakara scored a heartbreaker.
Sovanmakara struck the deciding goal as the Cambodians escaped with a 1-0 win over their Filipino counterparts in the AFF U23 Championships on Thursday night at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh.
The midfielder scored the marginal goal after retrieving the ball off a short header clearance from Ivan Ouano as Cambodia followed up on a 6-0 blowout against Brunei on Monday night to seal a spot in the semifinals.
Substitute striker Mao Piseth set up Cambodia's winning play by shortly passing his corner kick to Min Ratanak, who found his cross headed away by Ouano.
But the ball landed on Sovanmakara, and he sent a powerful kick that Quincy Kammeraad could not save, eventually giving Cambodia the win.
Cambodia even had chances to make it 2-0 in the end, but the team could not convert.
Now with six points, Cambodia clinched a playoff spot even if the team falls to second place, but the squad can seal top seed in Group A with a win or draw against Timor Leste, 3-1 winner over Brunei in the first match.
On the other hand, the U23 Azkals must beat Brunei by a huge margin on Sunday and hope that Timor Leste loses to Cambodia to join Cambodia in the semifinals.
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