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Tiger Cup farce
Thailand scores own goal to lose, avoid match with Vietnam
Posted: Monday August 31, 1998 02:13 PM
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (AP) -- The striker scores an own goal with less than a minute left to play, breaking the tie and losing the match. A tragedy? No, a farce.
Thailand unwillingly beat Indonesia 3-2 in a game that neither team -- fearing a date with rabid hometeam fans in Hanoi that winning would guarantee -- wanted to claim.
Vietnam Television reported that the match inspector said he would recommend to the ASEAN Football Federation that the result be scrapped.
Only a lopsided Indonesia victory would keep both teams from advancing to the semifinals from Group A. But whoever won the group faced the undesireable prospect of flying to Hanoi to play host Vietnam before a rabid crowd on Wednesday, National Day.
The result was such a poor display that the half-capacity crowd which had cheered so strongly during Myanmar's spirited 5-2 win over the Philippines in the opener had virtually vanished 15 minutes into the match.
The commmentator for ESPN International, a U.S.-based cable sports channel, openly derided the match, shown live regionally.
Several stars sat out for each team. Neither side made a serious move on goal in a first half where there was not a single whistle, and hardly a smear on a single uniform, despite a deteriorating, muddy pitch.
It appeared that tournament officials must have talked with both teams at the break, because Indonesia came out with more spirit. It also knew that a draw was the same as a victory because it already was atop the standings. Only a loss would move Thailand into first.
Mirobaldo Bento found virtually no resistance on a crossing pass in the 52nd minute to put Indonesia up 1-0. Thailand finally came to life, but as soon as Krisasha Piandet equalized in the 65th minute, the Thais died again.
Aji Santoso put Indonesia back ahead 2-1 in the 85th minute, and Thailand went on the move again, with Thersak Chaiman tying the score at 2-2 in the 89th minute.
Then, with time running down, Indonesia moved the ball down deep into its own territory. Two quick passes, and Yusuf Ekodono scored as goalkeeper Hendro Kartiko, who earlier had made several offensive forays to leave the goal open, stepped out of the way.
Thailand didn't have enough time to even think of employing the same tactic at its own end.
In the earlier match, Myanmar needed an overwhelming victory but found itself down 2-1 after Alfredo Gonzalez scored his second goal for the Philippines in the 31st minute.
Myo Hilang Win equalized five minutes before the half, and Aung Khine scored twice within three minutes to put Myanmar ahead 4-2 in the 77th minute. Hilang Win got his second goal four minutes later.
But Myanmar realistically had needed a six-goal margin to make things interesting in the nightcap.The final is scheduled for Saturday in Hanoi. First prize is $80,000.
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