It was more than twelve years ago when Laos beat Malaysia 1-0 at the Jakarta SEA Games.

Soulivanh Xuenvilay will be hoping that the set of Under-23 youngsters can do the same when the two sides square up in the semi-finals of men’s football at the Main Stadium of the National Sports Complex on Monday.

Soulivanh, who was the goalkeeper in 1997 and where he is now the general secretary of the Laos Football Federation, said that it was a tough match then and it will be just as tough now.

“The Malaysian team then had some good players like Khairulazman (Mohamad) and Zainal (Abidin Hassan), so the win was very significant,” said Soulivanh, who was also the team captain at the time.

“It was a very difficult match and our defence worked very hard, especially after we scored the goal. “So it will be another battle when Laos play Malaysia in the semi-finals. The Laos team has been playing well and they are improving from game to game.

“But I hope that the players can keep their focus and not let pressure get to the them. It is a big game for sure but with the fans supporting the team we should be able to get the results we want. I can’t say exactly of the outcome – what will be the score for Laos to win and Malaysia to lose.”

The only goal of the game came off striker Keolakhone Channiphone in the 52nd minute when he let loose a dipping shot from some 30 metres out to beat Malaysia’s Khairulazman.

In the meantime Somphou Phongsa, who was the head coach in 1997 and who is now the Vice-President of the Lao National Sports Committee, said that the win was all down to having the right tactic.

“We studied the Malaysian game well and from there, I employed two tactics – the first was to make sure that Malaysia do not make the crosses from the flanks while secondly, I put a stop to their key man (Sanbagamaran),” added Somphou.

“I told the players before the match to play with 110% and to treat it like a final which they did. And I knew that Keolakhone was capable of scoring from a distance as he has such power in his legs.

“When the goal came for Laos, we knew that we have won the game as we defended hard and there was no way, they could have scored against us that day.”

Other than Soulivanh and Somphou, who was part of the Laos squad in 1997, current LFF president Phouvanh Vongsouthi was also there in Jakarta as the assistant team manager.