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Chonburi: Two first half goals, and another after the break helped Thailand to a commanding 3-0 win over Laos, as the hosts kicked off their 2017 AFC U-16 Women’s Championship campaign in style.

Midfielder Pluemjai Sontisiwat, 14, bagged a crowd-pleasing double as Thailand proved too strong for their Southeast Asian neighbours.

While the win sees them shoot to the top of Group A, it wasn’t all good news for the Thais, with their goalkeeper Ponpimon Ngoenphon sent off late in the game.

Laos – appearing appearing in the tournament Finals for the first time – approached the game full of enthusiasm, but fell behind after 27 minutes when Pluemjai Sontisiwat made it 1-0 from close range.

Sarawut Suksawang’s technically-proficient side doubled their lead 17 minutes later, when Panittha Jeeratanapavibul latched onto a through-ball, before calmly stroking her shot beyond Laos goalkeeper Phetlavanh Xaiyaphetdala, giving the debutants a mountain to climb.

The home team picked up where they left off after the break, dominating possession and piling the pressure on the Laotian defence from wide areas.

They were rewarded in the 67th minute when the impressive Pluemjai added her second, effectively ending the match as a contest.

Laos, to their end, were spirited and industrious, and launched raids right up until the final whistle.

One of those raids led to Thai goalkeeper Ponpimon being shown a straight red card with less than 10 minutes remaining.for blocking Aphatsala Chanhthavongxay’s surging run just outside the penalty area.

Despite their best efforts, Vongmisay Soubouakham’s charges were unable to find a maiden AFC U-16 Women’s Championship goal, with their next opportunity coming on Wednesday against China PR

Later that evening, Thailand are set for what looms as a crucial clash against Korea Republic.


Vongmisay Soubouakham: Head Coach, Laos

“I’m very happy with the performance of the team. We made the tactic to defend and counter attack. We know the quality of Thailand and Laos, and we’re doing the best for the future of Laos women’s football. For some of our players, this is their first tournament. We need to use the same tactic (against China PR on Wednesday)

Sarawut Suksawang: Head Coach, Thailand

“Every goal we got tonight was a result of the training we did for this tournament. (Pluemjai Sontisiwat) is young, and she has a higher performance than players older than her. She will be an important player for the national team in the future. For the Korea Republic match, we have been training for them but today we made many mistakes which we need to improve.

Photos: AFC