Asia Southeast Asia

Changsuek Closer to Asian Cup Berth with Sri Lanka Win

Thailand placed themselves one step closer to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup tournament proper after they recorded their second straight win of the qualifiers’ third round, seeing off Sri Lanka 2-0 on Saturday. With six points to their name, the Changsuek are comfortably set for a second-straight appearance in the Asian Cup, with their final Group G game against favorites Uzbekistan vital in deciding who will finish top of the group.

The scheduling gods were kind towards Thailand as they were given the opportunity to reap maximum points in their first two Group G matches, as they were pitted against minnows the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The Changsuek grasped the opportunity with both hands, beating the Maldives 3-0 on Wednesday before taking on Sri Lanka on Saturday, with the South Asians also suffering a heavy 3-0 defeat on their Wednesday outing at the hands of Uzbekistan.

Predictably Sri Lanka were no match for Thailand, with the Southeast Asian giants taking the lead in the 34th minute through Thitiphan Puangchan, before sealing the win in the fourth minute of injury time through Worachit Kanitsribampen. The three points ensured that Thailand would remain joint-top of Group G with six points, however the Changsuek trail in 2nd place behind leaders Uzbekistan by virtue of goal difference, as the Central Asians had crushed the Maldives 4-0 in the late kick-off with AS Roma’s Eldor Shomurodov scoring a hat-trick.

With their hopes of qualifying into the Asian Cup as either Group G winners or one of the five best runners-up still wide open, Thailand will take on Uzbekistan in a match that determines the group’s outright winner on Tuesday June 14th.

The second matchday of the Asian Cup qualifying third round saw a mixed bag of results for ASEAN teams. The Philippines managed to eke out a hard-fought 1-0 win over Mongolia thanks to a last-gasp goal from Gerrit Holtmann, while Indonesia were narrowly-beaten 1-0 by Jordan. Malaysia succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Bahrain having taken the lead first, while the trio of Cambodia, Myanmar, and Singapore waved their Asian Cup hopes goodbye after suffering second-straight defeats. Cambodia were beaten 3-0 by Hong Kong, Myanmar lost 2-0 to Kyrgyzstan, while Singapore suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Tajikistan.