Teerathep on target in crucial win in Chennai (March 15, 2007)



TOR CHITTINAND

Teerathep Winothai scored the only goal of the match to earn Thailand an important 1-0 victory over India in the pre-Olympic qualifying round at Nehru stadium in Chennai yesterday. Thailand had lost their opening Group F game to North Korea and a win was crucial to keep their qualifying hopes alive.


The all-important goal came after just eight minutes. Piyachart Tamaphan crossed from the left and Teerathep pounced on it to slam the ball home from five yards.


The goal gave the Thai side a lot of confidence and they proceeded to control the game.


Thailand should have gone further ahead following a great ball from Kiatprawut Saiwaew to Teerathep but the striker pushed the ball wide. Teerathep had the ball in the net shortly after but was ruled offside.


India had only one clear chance when Manjit Singh was put through but goalkeeper Chalermkiat Sombatpan saved well.


The second half saw India step up their attacks but Thailand defended well, Teerathep nearly added a second shortly before the final whsitle but his shot was well saved by the keeper.


Team manager, Kasem Jariyawatwong was pleased with the result.


''We're just happy we won,'' he said. ''The boys did a great job today, we're still in with a chance.''


India coach Colm Joseph Toal said the Thai team played well and deserved their victory.


Thailand will next play Iraq in Jordan on March 28.


In the other match of the same group, North Korea held Iraq to a 2-2 draw in in Pyongyang.


STANDINGS P W D L F A Pts


Iraq 2 1 1 0 5 2 4


North Korea 2 1 1 0 3 2 4


Thailand 2 1 0 1 1 1 3


India 2 0 0 2 0 4 0 Fancied Japan defeat Malaysia 2-1


In Kuala Lumpur _ Goals from strikers Sota Hirayama and Tadanari Lee gave fancied Japan a 2-1 victory over Malaysia yesterday in a Group B qualifying match.


It was Japan's second win after an earlier 3-0 win over Hong Kong.


Hirayama scored from a defensive error in the 13th minute, toe-poking the ball past Malaysian goalkeeper Nasril Nourdin when the back line failed to clear a corner.


Hirayama was replaced by South Korea-born Lee midway through the second half. Lee was on the Petaling Jaya Stadium pitch for less than five minutes when he extended Japan's lead in the 77th minute.


Malaysia's consolation goal was headed in by Khyril Muhymeen in the 81st minute from a corner.