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Football semifinal berth one step closer for Laos

Monday, December 7, 2009 , Posted by samakomlao at 8:22 AM

Photo:Lamnao Singto reacts after scoring his second goal in Laos ' 2-0 win over Indonesia at the Chao Anouvong Stadium.

A semifinal berth for the Lao men's football team now seems within reach after they beat strong rivals Indonesia 2-0 in the Group B qualifying round of the 25th SEA Games yesterday at the Chao Anouvong Stadium in Vientiane .

Lao superstar Lamnao Singto scored twice to power the team to victory and boost the Lao team's semifinal hopes.

The performances of Lamnao and his teammates in the second match of their SEA Games campaign delighted every Lao football fan and warmed the hearts of people all across the country.

Although the away team was stronger the hosts were not intimidated, and exceeded all expectations by emerging triumphant ahead of their next match against Singapore on Thursday.

If the semifinals dream is to become reality, Laos must draw with Singapore .

At the start of the match against Indonesia , Laos attacked the away team, while Indonesia counter-attacked in an attempt to get the first goal. In the 22nd minute Kaysone Soukhavong took a corner kick which drove the ball to the front of the Indonesian goal. This gave Phatthana Sivilay the chance to shoot but Indonesia 's goalkeeper Frenky Irawan pushed the ball over the crossbar.

Despite the furious attack mounted by both teams the first half ended 0-0.

In the second half Lamnao Singto was on the receiving end of a pass from Khampheng Sayavuthi which he deftly shot between Frenky's legs to put Laos in the lead 1-0 in the 66th minute.

Nine minutes later with Laos appearing to be in the driving seat Phatthana Sivilay powered a long ball into the penalty area. The Indonesian goalkeeper caught the ball but it slipped out of his hands and Lamnao pounded it into the net to make it 2-0 for Laos .

With about 8,000 people screaming their support for Laos , the crowd was surely instrumental in willing the home team to victory.

A supporter told Vientiane Times after the match he was truly delighted with the result, especially as this was the first time he had attended a SEA Games match.

“I like Kaysone because he controls the ball well and passes it to his teammates. For sure I'll be cheering for Laos when they face Singapore on Thursday,” he said.

After the match the streets around the stadium were packed with people celebrating the victory. Some could be seen dancing along the road, others were singing lustily and people in restaurants gathered in excited throngs.

In 2007 Indonesia ousted Laos 4-0 at the 23rd SEA Games in the Philippines .

Lao team head coach Alfred Riedl said that for the first time he had been training the team they played very well. But he didn't want to appear too enthusiastic because he knew the next match against Singapore would be tough, especially with a semifinal berth at stake.

On December 10, Laos will face Singapore and Indonesia will meet Myanmar at the Chao Anouvong Stadium.

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath

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