Cambodia only needed a point but it proved to be too much to ask against an awesome outfit like Thailand. The Cambodians battled furiously but eventually ran out of steam and suffered a 6-0 bashing at the hands of the Thais.
Although they lost, Cambodia still have a chance of advancing but only if hosts Laos are not able to collect full points against the Philippines in the second match this evening. The Thais top Group A with a maximum 12 points while Cambodia are second with seven. Laos are third with four points.
To their credit, the Cambodians put up a spirited fight and contained the Thais very well especially in the first 70 minutes. Thailand started the game without their two aces – striker Jakkit Wachpirom and Sansern Limwatthana but later brought the duo on which proved to be the game changer.
Once Jakkit and Sansern found their rhythm, the Thai strikeforce was at its lethal best. In the 72nd minute, Jakkit got the scoring act going which then opened floodgates. In the last ten minutes, Thailand hammered four more goals through skipper Worachit Kanitsribumphen (81st, 83rd) and Supachai Chaided (87th, 90th).
Thailand’s opening goal came from Ritthidet Phensawat in the 15th minute.
Thailand welcomed the return of the suspended duo of Worachit and Anon Amornlertsak. The duo missed the last game after collecting two bookings each. But coach Anuruck Srikerd rested his two stars, Jakkit and midfielder Sansern.
Despite not fielding their best, the Thais managed to snatch the lead after 15 minutes. Ritthidet pounced on a loose shot in the box and lofted it over goalkeeper Um Sereirath. Thailand almost doubled the score four minutes from the end, however, some excellent work from Um stopped two successive strikes from Worachit and Anon.
The second half came alive in the last 15 minutes or so when the Thai team had their best on the field. “Once we brought on Jakkit and Sansern, our offense became better and we started to score the goals. But the first half was difficult as Cambodia played well and managed to hold us back,” said Anuruck.
The Thai coach added that for the semi-finals, he was not concerned about which team they would meet. “To win the championship, we must beat all our opponents.”
Thailand 6 Cambodia 0
7.00pm: Laos vs Philippines
Aug 31 (Group B)
4.00pm: Timor Leste vs Singapore
7.00pm: Myanmar vs Vietnam
Note: For full fixtures and details, please go to www.aseanfootball.org