Suzuki Cup: Thailand secures semifinals berth with win vs. Myanmar
Thailand became the first country to qualify for the Semi Finals of the Suzuki Cup after defeating Myanmar comfortably 4-0 at the Rajamangala Stadium earlier this evening. A hat-trick from Teerasil Dangda was added to by Apipoo Suntornpanavej to complete the rout as clinical finishing took Thailand through to the Semis in what was the noisiest game of Suzuki Cup group A so far.
Burmese and Thai fans had turned out in numbers and though the stadium wasn’t yet half full the noise from the crowds echoed round the ground. It was the loudest fan base so far and they witnessed Thailand dominate in a game which sees them become the first country in the Suzuki Cup to make the Semi Finals.
Thailand were without influential playmaker Datsakorn Thonglao in midfield, who was out of the game due to a groin injury, but the squad coped well to replace the midfielder and opened the scoring in the 20th minute.
Teerasil Dangda latched onto a neat through ball to net his twenty fourth goal for the national team, competently controlling the pass and steering it past Thiha Si Thu in goal for Myanmar.
It was the Thai forward’s fifth goal in the Suzuki Cup after netting four in the 2008 edition to jointly lead the scoring charts that year.
Sumanya Purisay had an effort deflected wide in the 34th minute while Thailand continued to find space down the wings. The diagonal long balls were troubling Myanmar but they were just one goal behind at the break.
After the break Thailand became more dominant. In the 51st minute Jakkapan Pornsai, who scored against the Philippines, flashed a header just wide from a smart Theerathon Bunmathan cross. The left back, Bunmathan, continued to supply crosses throughout the match as Thailand never looked like losing the game.
Teerasil Dangda was slipped through minutes later but this time he clipped the ball just over the bar. Two minutes later and Thailand did double their lead as Anucha Kitpongsri, the other scorer against the Philippines, crossed for substitute Apipoo Suntornpanavej. Thiha Si Thu, in goal for Myanmar, got a hand to the header but couldn’t stop it floating into the net as Thailand became more and more dominant.
Wasting much of the remaining time, Thailand looked like they were ready to settle for a 2-0 win, but in the 82nd minute Teerasil Dangda latched onto another great through pass and blasted it past the goalkeeper to put the result beyond doubt.
Seven minutes later and substitute Sompong Soleb was on hand to provide another fantastic pass to set free Dangda once more. In an almost carbon copy finish he blasted past Si Thu again and gave Thailand the highest victory of the Suzuki Cup so far.
Even without Datsakorn Thonglao Thailand didn’t lack creativity and deserved the victory. Myanmar rarely threatened and Teerasil Dongda added to his tally and now stands at seven goals in all Suzuki Cup tournaments, twenty six goals in total for his National side.
The 2012 Thai Premier League golden boot winner and player of the year is the hottest property in South East Asian football right now and their nation’s hopes rest on his young twenty four year old shoulders. If Thonglao can recover in time for the Semi Finals Thailand will surely be the favorites to lift the Suzuki Cup and become the sole leader of all ASEAN countries by making it four titles in the competition. Singapore currently also stand on three.
What it means for the Azkals
Despite the heavy loss Myanmar aren’t out of the tournament yet. If Thailand beat Vietnam then the number one ranked side in South East Asia will be out of the Suzuki cup with only one point to show for their efforts. Meanwhile whoever wins between Myanmar and the Philippines will go through to the Semi Finals.
If Vietnam beat Thailand, which is quite possible as Thailand have nothing to play for now and may well use the opportunity to rest a number of their star players, than the mathematics become more complicated.
Vietnam will then finish on four points if they win while a draw against Myanmar and the Philippines will also finish on four points. Should Myanmar win than they will finish on four points.
Goal difference or goals scored minus goals conceded will therefore decide who goes through between Vietnam, Myanmar, and the Philippines if ever two of them end up on four points.
In short, the Azkals need to beat Myanmar in order to guarantee themselves a place in the last four of the Suzuki Cup for the second consecutive time. A draw and they will be anxiously waiting to hear how Vietnam fare against Thailand. — ELR, GMA News
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