Football Tribe Thailand
Anirudh Thapa’s first-half winner spoiled Teerasil Dangda’s century appearance as The Blue Tigers finished third at the 47th King’s Cup.
India and Thailand battled for third place in the King’s Cup yesterday, after losing out to Curacao and Vietnam respectively. Igor Stimac rested captain Sunil Chhetri and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu while handing out first starts to Raynier Fernandes and 18-year-old Amarjit Singh.
The War Elephants also made a number of changes; Siwarak Tedsungnoen started in place of Kawin Thamsatchanan, whose last-minute blunder handed Vietnam the win on Wednesday. Pawee Tanthataemee debuted on the right side of the defense, and Sumanya Purisai replaced Supachok Sarachat as the creative force behind the front 2 of Supachai Jaided and Teerasil Dangda – the latter marking his 100th cap for Thailand.
The host began the game in a slow fashion yet again, keeping hold of possession on the left flank, while creating a few half-chances for themselves. Sumanya volleyed high from the edge of the area or when the Port playmaker, under pressure, fired Theerathon’s cutback wide.
Stimac’s men broke the deadlock in the 16th minute after another poor attempt at defending pieces by the Thais. A right-side free kick cross was allowed to run across goal, finding midfielder Adil Khan on the opposite side of the box who drilled it back toward the far post for Anirudh Thapa’s tap in.
A moment later, Teerasil converted Theerathon’s in-swinging cross from the right, only for it to be flagged offside. Everything creative was coming from left-back Theerathon, and in the 34th minute, his pass found Teerasil darting run down the left flank, jumped away from a tackle, and cutback for Sumanya, only for the shot to be deflected away. From the resulting corner, Theerathon’s cross found Pawee Tanthataemee, but his downward header but was cleared off the line by Anirudh Thapa.
India almost extended their lead in stoppage when Faukh Choudhary broke through from a corner kick clearance. One-on-one with defender Adisorn Promrak, he lay it off to the onrushing Balwant Singh but the pass was too soft and intercepted just in time.
Seeking an equalizer, Sirisak Yodyardthai sacrificed Pawee for attacking midfielder Supachok Sarachat, converting from a 3-4-1-2 to a lopsided 4-4-2. However, India disrupted Thailand’s tempo again when Faukh Choudhary hit the post with a powerful effort from outside the box.
Supachok’s pace and on-ball ability offered Thailand a different outlet going forward. On the hour-mark, Sumanya slipped him through on the inside-left channel. Supachok cut inside and attempted to curl the ball into the far post but his shot deflected away.
Seconds later he was in the same situation again. This time, he played a chip pass towards Teerasil, but the War Elephants’ captain couldn’t get enough power on his diving header.
In the 68th minute, Theerathon’s sloppy back-pass to Siwarak was closed down by Manvir Singh – forcing a mistake from the keeper. Defender Suphan Thongsong threw himself at the post to in an effort to clear the ball off the line, injuring himself in the process and being replaced by Pansa Hemviboon.
Thailand final chance to equalize came in the 91st minute. Theerathon arcing cross met Teerasil’s towering leap at the far post only to be blocked by goalkeeper Amrinder Singh’s face!
Full-time, India 1-0 Thailand, the Blue Tiger’s first victory on Thai soil in 49 years.