A 9-0 demolition of Haiti on the back of a 2-0 opening win against Vanuatu ensured Bolivia progressed as Group C winners, leaving the two losing sides to battle for the section’s remaining spot in the concluding match on Thursday. However, the Haitians have a mountain to climb if they are to reverse the form displayed in their opening match against a solid-looking Oceania outfit.
The other match sees Montenegro face hosts Singapore with both teams having already achieved their initial semi-final goal. This match will nevertheless hold plenty of intrigue with the victor avoiding the daunting task of a semi-final meeting against the impressive Bolivia.
Match of the Day
Montenegro-Singapore, Jalan Besar Stadium, Thursday 19 August, 20.45 (local time)
A point against Montenegro will be enough to seal Singapore’s place as section winners but despite a first-half onslaught in their 3-1 opening victory over Zimbabwe, the hosts’ performance in the second period will be cause for concern for coach Kadir Yahaya. The Africans hit back hard after the restart, pulling one back through a Albert Kusemwa spot-kick and they could easily have further reduced the arrears, or even levelled, if not for a combination of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping by Fashah Rosedin. “After just one game it is premature to say what we can achieve,” Yahaya told FIFA.com. “At this tender age anything can happen and we should ask the boys to focus on their play and keep cool.”
After edging out Zimbabwe by the slightest of margins, Montenegro received praise from opposition coach Dumaza Dube for their positional play and discipline. However his opposite number, Sava Kovacevic, was dissatisfied with his team’s display in the opening half. “They were nervous in the early stages and only looked normal in the second period,” he told FIFA.com. “The next game is difficult because Singapore players are pacy and agile, we must keep full concentration throughout.”
The other game
Haiti-Vanuatu, Jalan Besar Stadium, Thursday 19 August, 18.00 (local time)
Knowing that only a victory will be enough to see them through, Haiti enter the game against Vanuatu struggling for form. Lack of preparation is the key reason behind their disappointing loss to Bolivia coach Sonche Pierre told FIFA.com. “Physically we didn’t get ready heading into the competition and this was our first international match,” he said. “They will get better against Vanuatu.” Vanuatu proved themselves to be a capable outfit against Bolivia, with Santino Mermer unlucky not to open the scoring in the opening half. They defended gallantly against the attack-minded South Americans, allowing them to convert only two of their numerous goalscoring chances. For the Haitians, it may require determination, a well-structured game plan and a dose of luck for their dreams to come to fruition.
17 – Proved to be a lucky jersey number for all three winning teams. Singapore's Muhaimin Suhaimi bagged a brace against Zimbabwe in steering the hosts to a 3-1 opening win, while Bolivia's Luis Banegas came off the bench to score against Vanuatu. Completing a trio of No17’s on the scoresheet was Montenegro's Aleksandar Boljevic who scored his teams second in a 2-1 win against Zimbabwe.
Did you know?
Bolivia midfielder Jhamil Bejarano hails from the same Bolivar club as Marco Etcheverry, one of the country’s football legends and a member of the U-15’s coaching staff.
“I came into the tournament hoping to score at least one goal; netting a brace against Zimbabwe came as a big boost for me and I am looking forward to scoring more.” Muhaimin Suhaimi, Singapore forward