BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia U16 failed to fulfill their objective of reaching the semifinals in the 2016 U16 AFF Championship, when they were hammered 7-1 by Australia in their last Group A match at the Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh on Monday.
Third-placed P. Somasundram's boys had needed a win in order to snatch the second place and the final remaining semifinal spot of the group from the Australians, but the 2008 champions proved to strong for them.
Malaysia conceded as early as the fifth minute when Jacob Italiano pounced first on a rebound, and although they did equalise through Nizaruddin Jazi in the 29th minute, they were simply overwhelmed in the second half.
John Roberts scored just three minutes into the second half before adding his second in the 60th minute, before Lachlan Brook added Australia's second four minutes later. Roberts then added two more goals in the 66th and 73rd minute, before Italiano capped off Malaysia's humiliation with his team's seventh goal and his second in the match, in the 84th minute.
The result also meant that Malaysia finished the group in the fourth spot, as they were pipped to the third place by Myanmar, through a superior goal count. Both sides ended the group stage and their campaigns with seven points, after Myanmar defeated the Philippines 3-0 in their last group match, on the same day.
This year's tournament is also the second year in a row that the Young Tigers have failed to qualify for the knockout stage.