Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thailand 0 Malaysia 0

JAKARTA: Thailand did little to help their chances in the AFF Suzuki Cup as they were held to a goalless draw by Malaysia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Saturday.

The three-time champions struggled to break down their opponents on a heavy surface as they were held to their second consecutive draw in Group A. They will likely need a win against hosts Indonesia in their final group game on Tuesday to guarantee their progress to the last four.

Bryan Robson made six changes to his starting line-up after their disappointing 2-2 opening draw with Laos and the Thais were much the brighter side in the first half as they probed the Malaysian defence without success in heavy conditions following afternoon rain.

Sarayoot Chaikamdee, Thailand's two-goal hero against Laos, appeared eager to add to his total as he fired a low shot narrowly wide of the left upright after seven minutes and headed a dangerous cross from the right by Suree Sukha straight at goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat a minute later.

In a half of few chances, the best opportunity fell to the Thais in the 18th minute when Teerasil Dangda dashed into box to receive a return pass from Datsakorn Thonglao. He got to the ball just ahead of Khairul but lost control at the crucial moment and failed to to get his attempt on target.

With the Malaysian defence showing much better discipline after losing 5-1 to Indonesia in the opener, the Thais were reduced to shooting from distance with Datsakorn firing straight at Khairul from 20 metres in the 29th minute and blazing over with a long-range attempt just before half-time.

Malaysia had an opportunity to break the deadlock three minutes into the second half when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the box for Natthaphong Samana's two-footed challenge on Norshahrul Idlan. Skipper Safiq Raman took the kick that flew just wide of Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool's right post.

The Thais appeared short of ideas as they continued to shoot from distance. Suchao Nutnum saw his low attempt from 25 metres touched wide by Khairul and then shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.

Malaysia very nearly grabbed a goal against the run of play in the 64th minute. Norshahrul tricked his way down the right flank and squared the ball for an unmarked S. Kunalan who blazed over from 15 metres.

Sarayoot was kept quiet for much of the game but he very nearly ended the stalemate 11 minutes from time when he turned defender in the Malaysian box but failed to beat Khairul from close range.

With eight minutes left, the Thais appeared to have won a penalty when Suchao went down on the box but Myanmar referee Win Cho saw the things differently and booked the player for diving.

With the game heading into stoppage time, Teerasil broke into the Malaysian box on the left but his attempt was deflected onto the Malaysian crossbar and out of play. He had a second chance from the resulting corner but his shot was heroically blocked by a defender.

Source - AFF Suzuki Cup 2010


Robson rues missed opportunities 

JAKARTA: Thailand coach Bryan Robson was left to lament another poor display of finishing by his side on Saturday as the three-time champions failed to turn their territorial domination into goals in a 0-0 stalemate with Malaysia in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Despite enjoying the lion's share of possession in the Group A clash at the Gelora Bungkarno Stadium, the Thais were unable to break down a Malaysian defence that had conceded five goals against Indonesia just three days earlier.

It has become a familiar story for Robson, whose team have failed to hit their target on a regular basis during his reign as Thailand coach.

"It's something that I'm trying to get used to as Thailand coach. Once again, we completely dominated possesion and we created some great opportunities but we wasted them," said the Englishman.

"I think that some of the passing movement today was very good, especially in the first half. We got around the back of their defence on many occasions but we just wasted our chances.

"Our final pass and final finish has been frustrating. We've done enough to win both games here but if you miss your chances, you don't win the game."

The draw was Thailand's second in Group A and leaves them needing to win their final match against hosts Indonesia on Tuesday to ensure their progression to the semi-finals.

"We would have liked to have won this game and moved one step closer to the semi-finals. But now we are going to have to do it the hard way. We have to beat Indonesia here which is a very tough task.

"But I'm sure we can give them a tough game and I still feel that we have a chance to reach the semi-finals."

For Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal, the draw was a welcome result after his side had been battered 5-1 by Indonesia in their opener.

"We knew that Thailand would play their best game tonight and we knew it would be a difficult task to get something from the match because they have some very good individual players," he said. "They put a lot of pressure on us and could have killed us in the first half because they kept possession well and were passing the ball around very nicely.

"But I must give credit to my team. They defended well and in the second half, they came out with more energy and created more chances. It was a close game and whoever would have scored then would have gone on the win the game."

For Rajagobal, the key factor in the result was the cutting out of the defensive errors that had plagued his team against Indonesia.

"I have tried to motivate my players in the last couple of days and to drive home the point that they have to be tight and not give away the sort of chances that we did against Indonesia.

"We knew we could play better and I told them not to repeat the simple, silly mistakes. They showed more energy today and as the game went on and the game remained scoreless, they gained in confidence. I have to pay credit to them for a good performance."

Source - AFF Suzuki Cup 

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