Win dedicated to Timorese people
Yangon: A delighted Emerson Alcantara dedicated Timor Leste’s 3-1 win over Laos on Tuesday to the people of the country as his team moved a step closer to a spot in the Final Round of the AFF Suzuki Cup.
The Timorese had lost all three of their previous matches against Laos at the Asean Football Championship including a 6-1 thumping at the hands of the Indochinese side in the Qualification Round in Vientiane two years ago.
However, a first-half penalty by Murilo de Almeida and goals after the break by Adelino Trinidade and Alan Leandro gave them their second win in three games in this year’s qualifiers following a winless run of 15 games in the competition.
While the Timorese have struggled in their previous appearances in the competition, Alcantara feels that they now have a team that the country’s fans can be proud of.
"This is a win for the people of Timor Leste," said the Brazilian. "They had to wait a long time for our team to win their first match in this competition but now we have two wins and this was an important victory for Timor Leste.
"I think that about 70 percent of people in Timor Leste are poor so it is very important to get this result for them because they love football and the people can get confidence and take pride in this result. It is very important for us to motivate our people and to help to change their lives.
"I thought that it was a very good performance for us. Laos are a good team and they had many good opportunities to score against us today. Their movement is good and they made things difficult for my team but my players stayed disciplined and I am very happy with their performance."
However, he was disappointed that forward Murilo picked up his second yellow card in the game and will now miss their final qualifying match against Brunei this Saturday.
"Of course, it is a disappointment because he always has chances in every game and he is a very important tactical player for us," added Alcantara. "Now he is out for the next game and we have to think of other players we can use."
The result put the Timorese level on six points with Myanmar at the top of the qualifying standings although they have played a game more than the home side. Meanwhile, Laos remained on three points after two games and are in danger of missing out on the Final Round for the first time.
Laos coach Kokichi Kimura made six changes from the team that beat Cambodia 1-0 on Sunday but he felt that the changes were justified because of the short and intense nature of the Qualification Round.
"In seven days, we have to play four games and it is very tough because every game here is important for us," said the Japanese.
"We brought 20 players with us and they are about the same level so it was not a big problem. We had a very tough game today and we used more of our experienced players. I think that we created good chances and that we played better than our first game but that we were unlucky.
"I believe we can still go through to the Final Round but all of our remaining games will now be important."