Record eighth win (December 15, 2007)
TOR CHITTINAND, Nakhon Ratchasima
Thailand continued their dominance in men's football winning their eighth consecutive SEA Games gold medal after beating Burma 2-0 in the final last night.
First-half goals from strikers Anon Sangsanoi and Teerathep Winothai sealed the triumph for the hosts before a sell-out crowd at His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary Stadium.
It was a memorable end for Teerathep's glittering SEA Games career which saw him win four consecutive titles.
The tournament is for players aged under 23 and the 22-year-old striker will not be eligible for the 2009 Games.
After opening exchanges, Thailand drew first blood after 15 minutes when Teerathep sent Anon clear and his strike partner beat Kyaw Zin Htet in the Burmese goal for his sixth goal of the tournament.
Burma, who lost to Thailand 3-2 in their opening match of the tournament, resorted to hard tackling tactics to stop Thailand's attack.
Wisarut Pannasri was injured from a reckless challenge and was replaced by Tana Chanabut after just 25 minutes.
It was Tana who created Thailand's second goal. He beat a couple of Burmese defenders and his cross perfectly found Teerathep who headed in from close range after 39 minutes.
Burma were more live early in the second half and launched all-out attack in the final stages but the Thai defence successfully fended off their efforts.
''I am very relieved. This is the most important gold medal. The whole nation expected us to win this gold medal,'' said Thailand coach Thongsuk Sampahangsit who was in his first major tournament.
Teerathep, who won his first SEA Games title when he was 16 in 2001, said he would like to thank the fans who supported his team from the beginning.
Teerathep scored 14 goals in four SEA Games. He wore number 14 shirt and yesterday was December 14.
Worawi Makudi, president of the Football Association of Thailand said every player played like a hero and he was happy that they made every Thai happy.
Burma coach Marcos Falopa said that it was difficult to play against Thailand before their home crowd.
''We tried hard but came just short. However, we gained a lot of experience from the tournament,'' he said.