SIXTH STRAIGHT TITLE FOR THAILAND IN AFF FUTSAL (31 August 2008)



BANGKOK (31 August 2008) – Hosts Thailand won their sixth straight title in the AFF Futsal Championship when they beat Indonesia 5-1 in the final that was played at the Nimibutr Stadium.

What made the victory more significant was the fact that the Thais were being represented by the national Under-21 squad who showed in the final today that they are capable of playing the game at a high pace.

“It was a very young team but they played with a lot passion and today they proved that they can fight for a place in the senior Thai team,” said Kraiserm Tohtubtiang, the team manager of Thailand.

For Indonesia, their second appearance in the final in three years failed to inject more confidence where they seem to be overwhelmed with the ability of the young Thai side.

Defending early in the game, the Indonesians tried to push forward off Andri Irawan but found the Thai defence just a little stout on the day when compared to their last match which they win by the slimmest of 2-1 margin.

Thailand, supported by the several thousand fans, made the early move off Suphahut Thuenklang and the lanky forward made full use of an opportunity early in the sixth minute to blast in the lead.

Confident, the Thais then controlled much of the first half before ending it with their second goal of the afternoon, when Suphahut again made good on some clever work with Kritsada Wongkaeo.

Indonesia tried to get back into the match in the second half but the Thais went further ahead in the 27th minute when Thuenklang – who emerged as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament - broke through for a 3-0 lead.

And although Indonesia gave themselves some hope in the 35th minute when Deny Handoyo blasted in the rebound, their failure to stop Jirawat Sornwichian to score off a powerplay gave the game away.

Thailand then rounded off the evening with their fifth goal through Kritsada Wongkaeo for the final scoreline.

“They thoroughy deserve to win because they were consistent throughout the match today. They were just better physically,” added Justinus Lhaksana, the head coach of Indonesia.

IN THE MEANTIME, Malaysia came in third in the tournament his year after beating Brunei 8-1.

The Malaysians took a 5-0 lead at the break off goals from Ahmad Hanif Karnim (4th and 5th minute), N. Saravanan (6th), Safar Mohamad (10th) and Muhammad Fadhil Yusof (20th).

Brunei scored twice in the 22nd minute and 35th minute but it was not enough for them to stage a revival as the Malaysians struck through Hanif (23rd minute) and Fadhil (38th and 39th minute) for the win.