Thailand, the reigning champions, proved they were indeed the ones to beat after a roaring performance against Singapore in front of a near capacity crowd at the majestic Bangkok Arena this evening.
The Thais, one of the top ranked teams in Asia, thrilled the crowd when they blew their opponents and sail away with an 8-0 victory.
Tonight’s game, Thailand first since the tournament started yesterday, provided a sneak preview of what’s in store in the coming days.
Thailand, along with Australia, are the clear favourites to wrest two of the four available qualifying slots to the Asian Futsal Championship next year.
In an earlier Group A tie, Timor Leste edged Brunei 6-5 after a mighty battle which turned out to be a smasher of a game.
Both sides fought until the end but it was Timor that walked away the victors for the second time here, thanks mainly to the untiring efforts of striker Manuel Sarmento, who netted a hattrick. He now has seven goals to his credit.
Yesterday, Timor Leste defeated Singapore 6-3 and have now amassed a maximum of six points to take them to the top of the group standings, for the time being at least. Thailand, who played their first match today, are second with three points.
With Thailand set to take over as leaders tomorrow, Timor Leste will likely have to challenge Malaysia for the second semi-final slot in the group and more importantly, a place in the Asian finals.
In tonight’s match, Thailand did not take long to break through. In the first minute, following a few quick passes at the top, Jetsada Chudech saw his chance and blasted his team ahead to the delight of the fans.
Minutes later, the Thais landed another remarkable goal. Sorasak Phoonjungreed let loose a crisp grounder from the right but instead of connecting the cross, Kritsada Wongkaeo, the Thai skipper, caught the defence by surprise when he left it for Suphawut Thueanklang, who was lurking behind him, to crash the ball home.
Thailand’s third goal was a lucky one for Kritsada who tapped in a rebound off the right post. Kritsada netted a second personal goal and the fourth for his team a minute before the break.
In the second half, Thailand added four more through Jetsada (26th), Piyapan Ratana (34th), Kritsada (35th) and Nattawut Madyalan (38th).
In the morning session Group B matches today, Australia, the other favourite to make the final here, defeated hard-working Myanmar 3-1 in their opening game of the tournament. Laos then defeated the Philippines 10-3 in the second match of the day.
Today’s defeat pushed Myanmar, who had beaten Philippines 13-0 yesterday, into third spot in the standings.
And despite not playing today, Vietnam, which had defeated Laos 13-1 yesterday, are top by virtue of a superior goal difference.
Australia and Myanmar have three points each but the Aussies are second on the head-to-head ruling.
Group B: Australia bt Myanmar 3-1, Laos bt Philippines 10-3
Group A: Timor Leste bt Brunei 6-5, Thailand bt Singapore 8-0
Group B: Australia vs Philippines (11.30am), Vietnam vs Myanmar (2pm)
Group A: Singapore vs Brunei (4.30pm), Thailand vs Malaysia (7pm)
Group B: Philippines vs Vietnam (11.30am), Laos vs Australia (2pm)
Group A: Malaysia vs Timor Leste (4.30pm), Brunei vs Thailand (7pm)
Group B: Myanmar vs Laos (11.30am), Vietnam vs Australia (2pm)
Group A: Singapore vs Malaysia (4.30pm), Thailand vs Timor Leste (7pm)