Kuching: Friendship could be the key to Laos getting a positive result against Macau, according to coach Valakone Phomphakdy as the early pacesetters in Group B of the AFC Solidarity Cup Malaysia 2016 get set to battle it out at Sarawak Stadium on Sunday.
Goals from Moukda Souksavath and Khamphanh Sonthanalay helped the Laotians to a 2-1 opening-day victory over Sri Lanka on Thursday, while Tam Iao San’s (pictured, right) Macau also got off to a perfect start after a 2-1 win against Mongolia.
And Phomphakdy (pictured, left) is hoping that his familiarity with Tam’s style will help give the Southeast Asians the upper hand as his team attempts to open up a lead at the top of Group B and put one foot firmly in the semi-finals.
“I think Macau are a stronger team than Sri Lanka, but we can play a great game against them too and beating them is our next target,” said Phomphakdy.
“The Macau coach is a good friend of mine and I know what he likes to do so I hope I can use this to our advantage.”
Laos go into the Matchday Two fixture looking for their fourth successive win after victories over Timor-Leste and Brunei Darussalam at the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Championship two weeks ago preceded Thursday’s defeat of Sri Lanka.
“But Macau have strong points too in that many of their players have been playing together for a long time so they can gel nicely on the pitch,” added Phomphakdy.
“I hope our next match will be exactly like the Sri Lanka match, or even better.”
Macau had to withstand heavy Mongolia pressure in their Group B opener before Nicholas Tarrao proved the hero when he bagged the winner 15 minutes from time.
Striker Tarrao had earlier given Tam’s side the lead on 14 minutes only for a resilient Mongolia to peg them back 15 minutes later.
But after keeping the Mongolians at bay after the restart, the East Asians snatched all three points when Tarrao struck his second to leave Mongolia to rue their missed chances.
“Laos have a different style to Mongolia – they are quick with good technique,” said Tam.
“We need to be confident, though, and if we keep possession and are organised in attack then we can create chances.
“We have watched their games from before the tournament and our staff have analysed all their matches so we can prepare well.
“If any team gets a victory in this game then there is a big possibility of qualifying for the semi-finals. We hope we can at least get a point.”