Sornsai brace helps Thailand edge Myanmar in opener (July 16 2006)


ADELAIDE: A goal in either half from Pitsamai Sornsai helped Thailand edge Myanmar 2-1 in the opening match of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2006 here at the Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.

Played in cold and windy conditions, the match between the ASEAN archrivals lived upto its billing as a thriller of the first order.

Physical superiority of the young Thai women coupled with their technical prowess left the Myanmarese clueless for much of the 90 minutes, crippling their attempts to mount an effective fightback.

Sornsai, who played a key role for Thailand in the AFC U-17 Women’s Championship last year, was the tormentor-in-chief and Myanmar failed to provide an adequate counter to the 17-year-old striker’s darting runs.

The first goal for Sornsai came in the 34th minute when she quickly connected to a cross dispatched from the right flank by Suphonthip Wiphakonwit.

Coach Suphon Yapaha’s women preserved this lead with some hard running to go into the break a goal ahead.

Ten minutes into the restart, Sornsai bagged her double. An alert cross from Supaphon Kaeobaen saw the Thai forward storming into the area and nudging the ball into the net past goalkeeper May Khin Ka Min.

Two goals down, Myanmar hastily got their act together and prodded by coach Aye Kyu Woll’s constant barks were soon calling the shots. Within 10 minutes the arrears were reduced when midfielder Nhin Si Myint executed a solo run and took a potshot at the Thai goal.

The attempt was cut short by a defender who, however, failed to pack enough power into her clearing shot and the ball fell to Daw My Htwe right in front of the gaping goal. The goal was there for the taking with custodian Kanyawee Sudtawee not in the frame.

The breach jolted Thailand and they quickly plugged the leaks to see out the match without further damage.

The Thai coach said his young charges should not be underestimated. “Since we are a young side we can only improve and learn from our opponents,” said Yapaha, who led the Thais to a third place finish at the AFC U-17 Women’s Championship last year.

“We are proud to have qualified for this tournament and it is a big honour for us to be here. I want my young side to gain as much experience here as they can.”

Myanmar coach Woll acknowledged that the Thais, who are the youngest of the nine sides here, were the better of the two. “Thailand played much better than us,” said Woll.

“The other three teams (DPR Korea, Australia and Korea Republic) are all much stronger sides. I think we will be forced to defend for most of the playing time,” added the coach, referring to Myanmar’s game against the hosts on Tuesday.

Thailand will be hoping to cause an upset on the same day when they take on the might of two-time defending champions DPR Korea.