A hat trick from Komkrit Nanan gave Thailand their first-ever AFF Beach Soccer title when they beat defending champions Vietnam 4-2 in the final round-robin tie of the tournament here at the Laem Tan Beach.
It took Komkrit just eight seconds to make the scoresheet when he swung in a shot from the left to give Thailand the lead as they then controlled the pace to force Vietnam into a defensive position.
After missing a few chances and with Masayuki Yoshida hitting the crossbar, Komkrit finally found his and Thailand’s second goal with a close finish from the left in the 11th minute of play.
But Vietnam would finish the first period pulling a goal back with just 50 seconds left on the clock when Bui Tran Tuan And rounded off Thai keeper Wattanachai Srathongian to score.
Vietnam played a more compact game in the second period as they pushed Thailand keeper hard in search of the equaliser.
The full-house crowd was highly entertained with the action on the pitch as neither side could find the break to score up until the very last minute of the period.
And it was Vietnam who drew level when Tran Nhoc Bao slotted home to put the score level at 2-2.
But the Thais maintained their composure to totally dominate the third period as they punished Vietnam’s defensive mistake for Komkrit to head home Thailand’s third goal of the game in the seventh minute and then Watchara Lepaijit’s opportunistic finish just two minutes later.
The win allowed Thailand to join the winners’ circle alongside Malaysia (2014) and Vietnam (2018) as Komkrit was chosen as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament this year.
In the meantime, Malaysia maintained their third position they won last year when they beat Afghanistan 6-5 in extra-time. Incidentally, it was the first-ever match this year to go into extra time.
The goalscorers’ for Malaysia in regulation time were Muhammad Zulhairi Ismail (4th minute), Mohd Hasrol Ali (7th) in the first period, Mohd Riduwan Mohd Noor (9th) in the second period and then Muhammad Qushairie Asaari (1st) in the third period.
The scorers for Afghanistan were Jamil Nasiri (11th) in the first period, Mohd Tamim Haidari (2nd) and Mohammad Emran Walizada (6th) in the second period and then Mohammad Emran’s seventh minute penalty in the third period.
Score was 4-4 at the end of regulation.
In the additional three minutes of extra time, the Malaysians were quick to score in the very first minute when Mohammad Norazman Abu Bakar unleashed a low shot to beat Afghanistan keeper Baktash Akbari.
Just two minutes later, Baktash was beaten again through Mohd Riduwan for the Malaysians to take a 6-4 lead.
And while Afghanistan managed to pull a goal back moments later Samiullah shot in right from the restart, still it was too late for them to stage a revival.
RESULTS – 17 Nov 2019
Malaysia 6 Afghanistan 5
Vietnam 2 Thailand 4