Sarayuth on target again as Thailand advance (November 19, 2007)


Thailand advanced to the next stage of the Asian World Cup qualifiers when they defeated Yemen 1-0 in the second leg of the second qualifying round at Supachalasai Stadium yesterday.

Having earlier drawn 1-1 in Yemen, Thailand moved into the third qualifying round on a 2-1 aggregate.

On target for the hosts was in-form striker Sarayuth Chaikamdee with a neatly taken header in the first half.

It was a well deserved victory for Thailand who should have won by a bigger margin and were denied a clear penalty in the second half.

''I am very happy with the team today,'' said coach Chanvit Phalavijin. ''We made several chances and hit the woodwork and controlled the game well. Every player put in a good performance.''

Thailand fielded the three new Manchester City signings _ Suree Sukha, Kiatprawut Saiwaew and Teerasil Dangda _ and went on the offensive right from the start.

With the crowd roaring them on Thailand made the breakthrough in the 16th minute when Sarayuth headed home a Tawan Sripan corner.

Sarayuth also scored Thailand's goal in the away leg.

Near the end of the first half Sarayuth should have added to his tally but his close range shot hit the post.

Yemen began the second half in lively fashion and put some pressure on the Thai side but the defence held firm.

In fact it was Thailand who always looked the most likely to score.

They should have got a penalty when Punnarat Klinsukhon was upended inside the box when he was put through but the referee saw it differently.

Datsakorn Thonglao was also pulled down on the edge of the area but Thailand could not capitalise on the free kick.

In the 84th minute Sarayuth was denied again when his shot hit the bar.

Yemen were reduced to 10 men in injury time when Ahmed Salem Ahmed received his second yellow card.

Chanvit said he was happy to advance but the next round would be a lot tougher. The teams are placed in five groups of four with each group having a top seed.

''We will have to face one of the seeds which will be teams like Australia, Iran or Japan, '' he said.

''If I could choose I would like to play Australia because we met them in the Asian Cup and know their style of play.''

Chanvit said his aim was to get Thailand through the next round into the final qualifying round which will be 10 teams in two groups of five.

''The next round is not until February, so we have plenty of time to prepare,'' he said.

The draw will be made November 25 in Durban, South Africa.

After the match, the Thai Beverage Company (Beer Chang) awarded a two million baht special bonus to the Thai team for qualifying into the third round.