Thai captain Sarach Yooyen showed how it is done when he fired the only goal of the game to realistically edge Malaysia out of the SEA Games this afternoon here at the Bishan Stadium.
With the Thai strikers firing blanks, it was up to Sarach to show how it’s done when he unleashed a screamer beyond the reach of Malaysian keeper Mohd Farhan Abu Bakar ten minutes to the end.
“We were actually quite surprised with the goal,” said Thai coach Choketawee Promrut. “But the important thing is the three points today.”
Both teams were struggling under the extreme afternoon heat as they were passing the ball around, probing for the spaces to push forward.
It was Thailand who were the early aggressor as the Malaysians seem content to defend with coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee preferring to play without a striker.
With Matthew Davies tasked with marking out Thai striker Chananan Pombupha, chances were too few in the opening half although the Malaysians relied on some quick counter through Gary Steven Robbat.
The best chance came late in the 28th minute but despite being unmarked, Thitiphan Puangjan just can’t find his mark – twice.
The wily Chanathip Songkrasin finally came alive in the second half as he weaved in and through the Malaysian defence at will but still to no avail as the strikeforce just can’t seem to find the scoring touch past the athleticism of keeper Mohd Farhan.
Malaysia had a great chance in the 59th minute to go score but Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim’s curling shot was parried out by Thai custodian Chanin Sae-Ear.
But still Thailand pushed forward, from the left and from the right as the Malaysian defence scrambled to prevent a breach.
As Thailand seem certain that they could only salvage a point, came the rifling shot from Sarach to give Thailand and the fans the relief they thoroughly deserved.
“We struggled against Vietnam and today, we also struggled against Thailand,” quipped Kim Swee. “Realistically, it is all down to Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia as to who make the semi-finals. And since we have lost to these two teams, the answer is obvious.”
RESULT – 4 June 2015
Malaysia 0 Thailand 1