Despite defeat to Vietnam U15, semi-final chances still a huge possibility for Malaysia U15

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After having cruised to three comfortable wins in their earlier group matches, Malaysia U15 were brought back down to earth by Vietnam U15.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

After having cruised to three comfortable wins in their earlier group matches, Malaysia U15 were brought back down to earth when they lost 1-0 to Vietnam U15 in the group stage of the 2017 AFF U15 Championship on Sunday.

In the match that was held at the Chonburi Campus Stadium 2, Chonburi, the only goal was scored by Ngô Quang Thuận in the third minute. Malaysia forward Harith Naem Jaineh was also sent off in injury time, for receiving his second booking.

Vietnam's win means they have secured qualification to the semi-final stage.

Despite their first defeat, the Young Tigers still have a good chance of qualifying for the semi-final stage. The top two spots in Group B, the two qualifying slots to the semi-finals are currently occupied by leaders Vietnam with 12 points and a goal difference of +10, while Malaysia are second with nine and a +6 goal difference.

Cambodia; Malaysia's opponents in the final matchday of the group on Tuesday, and the other team in the group who are still in the running for the semis, are third with six points and a +2 goal difference. They could have gone level on points with Malaysia to set up a tense encounter, but on Sunday they lost 2-0 to Brunei.

As it stands, the least that Malaysia have to do to secure qualification this Tuesday is to avoid losing to the Cambodians by more than one goal.

The Young Tigers too still have a slim chance of snatching the top spot away from Vietnam, if the Vietnamese somehow lose to bottom-placed Timor-Leste in their last group match on Tuesday, and Malaysia can defeat Cambodia with a goal margin that allows Malaysia's goal difference to overtake Vietnam's.

Raja Azlan Shah Raja So'ib's boys had earlier defeated the Philippines 2-0, Timor-Leste 2-0 and Brunei 3-0.

Meanwhile in Group A, hosts Thailand on 12 points have secured qualification and are leading the group. With one matchday remaining in the group, only second-placed Australia (nine points), third-placed Myanmar (seven) and fourth Laos (six) still have the mathematical chance of winning the other semi-final slot of the group.

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