Kuching: Xaisongkham Champathong scored eight minutes from time to give Laos a 3-2 win over Brunei Darussalam at Sarawak Stadium on Monday evening as Valakone Phomphakdy’s side claimed third place at the AFC Solidarity Cup Malaysia 2016.
Xaisongkham’s winner came after Shahrazen Said had levelled twice for Brunei after goals from Keoviengpheth Lithideth and Sitthideth Khanthavong, but Kwon Oh-son’s side were unable to find a third equaliser as Laos ran out winners.
Shahrazen’s brace takes him to joint top of the goal scoring charts for the tournament, alongside Macau’s Nicholas Torrao with four goals, but it will be minimal consolation for the Brunei midfielder and his team mates.
Laos were on the offensive from the first whistle, with Brunei goalkeeper Tarmizi Johari called into action inside the first minute when left in a one-on-one situation with striker Xaisongkham that the custodian did well to win, pushing the ball to safety.
Four minutes later, though, Tarmizi was not so fortunate as Laos took the lead, the ball breaking to Keoviengpheth on the edge of the six-yard box and he slammed his left-foot shot beyond the keeper’s reach.
Laos continued to push and, in the ninth minute, more impressive goalkeeping from Tarmizi kept the score down when Khouanta Sivongthong’s ball into the path of Xaisongkham was cut across the face of goal before a fine double save, first from Sitthideth and then Keoviengpheth, kept the deficit at one.
A shell-shocked Brunei finally found a foothold in the game with Shahrazen heading just wide from close range, while at the other end Sitthideth squandered a chance to double his side’s lead when he found the arms of Tarmizi after a quick-fire break.
Brunei had barely ventured into the Laos half in the opening quarter of the game but, in the 24th minute, Kwon Oh-son’s side were level. Mohammad Najib’s lofted curling cross found Shahrazen in space behind the defence on the edge of the six-yard box and he converted at the far post.
Eight minutes into the second half, Laos restored their lead when Bounlien Bounpachack’s teasing cross from the left found the space between the Brunei defence and Tarmizi, and Sitthideth sprinted in to head the ball home.
The advantage, however, lasted less than two minutes as Shahrazen claimed his second, smashing the ball over the line via the underside of the bar from just inside the area after a smart cut-back by Fakharazzi Hassan.
With time ticking down and heavy rain starting to fall, Laos took the lead for a third and final time in the 82nd minute when Xaisongkham muscled his way past the Brunei defence to meet Phoutone Innalay’s free kick from the left before scoring via the inside of the far post.