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Booth looks on the bright side

VIENTIANE: Laos coach David Booth kept up a brave face on Sunday despite watching his side throw away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Philippines in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 qualifying competition.

The hosts appeared to be cruising to victory after Soukhaphone Vongchiengkham and Kanlaya Sysomvang put them 2-0 up at half-time at the National Sports Complex in Vientiane.

But a second-half penalty by Philip Younghusband and a stoppage-time header by his brother James meant that the spoils were shared after a bruising and tempestuous encounter.

Booth was a fiery figure on the sidelines during the match but he was more measured about what he said to the media afterwards.

"We tried our best tonight," said the veteran English coach.

"I felt that we played well tonight, especially in the first half when we were very good. We had more chances to score goals but the Philippines defending was good."

The draw meant that Laos remained third in the qualifying competition and will need to beat Timor Leste by at least three goals on Tuesday to book their place in the AFF Suzuki Cup group stage.

And while the Timorese have lost 12 of the 13 matches that they have played in the tournament, Booth is not about to let complacency creep into his side ahead of the crucial encounter.

"My team need to prepare themselves better in order to qualify," he said. "We cannot regard this game as easy because Timor Leste are not an easy team to play against as they showed by scoring the first goal against Cambodia tonight."

Philippines coach Simon McMenamy was relieved to see his side rescue a point which leaves them needing only a draw against Cambodia on Tuesday to advance to the group stage.

"I'm glad that we managed to get the equaliser. Laos have players with very good speed and a lot of talent so it wasn't an easy game," said the 32-year-old Englishman.

"In the first half I felt that we had no luck at all although I was not very happy with the team's performance then.

"Now we have to prepare for our next game against Cambodia. We are not carrying any injuries right now but it will not be an easy game for us."