Donchui, Dangda star as Thailand down UAE 2-1 (31 October 2006)

By Chetan Kulkarni
KOLKATA: A last-gasp winner from Phonlawut Donchui helped Thailand outclass the UAE 2-1 in their first Group B encounter in the AFC Youth Championship here at the Salt Lake stadium on Monday.

Thailand Teerasil Dangda put Thailand ahead in the 47th minute but Ibrahim Ali, who took the field only seven minutes before in place of Mohamed Al Shehhi, managed to restore parity a minute from time. Donchui headed the home the winner in the last minute of the stoppage time to give his side three valuable points.

A defensive lapse by UAE defender Talal Al Mehri helped Anawin Jujeen supply the ball to Dangda in the box, who made no mistake to slot the ball home.

In the 89th minute, Ali Ibrahim found the net on a cross from Abdulla Bloushi and it looked like a 1-1 draw before Donchui’s header kissed the net on a freekick from Jakkaphan Kaewprom in the final seconds of the game.

The UAE were in command in the first half and could have put their nose ahead in the eighth minute but Mohamed Al Shehhi wasted a clear chance. Thai goalkeeper Chatchai Bootprom failed to cleanly collect a shot from striker Khalid Lashkar, leaving the ball at the mercy of Al Shehhi who however delayed his shot, allowing Bootprom to push the ball out.

Thailand got their first real chance in the 45th minute when Teerasil Dangda managed to run past his defender but before he could lob, UAE custodian Ali Housani cleared the threat.

The Thais were a totally reformed unit after the restart as they coordinated well and matched the West Asians in every aspect of the game.

They kept the UAE defence busy with some beautiful moves and their continuous pressure paid dividends two minutes into the restart when Dangda put them ahead.

Dangda could have doubled the advantage seven minutes later but his shot hit the woodwork. The prolific striker was again in the thick of action in the 78th minute when substitute striker Chainarong Tatong dodged two defenders inside the box and supplied the ball to Dangda with only goalkeeper to beat but his weak shot was easily pouched by

UAE custodian Ali Housani.

Thailand coach Payong Khunnan said: “We were lucky to get the first goal, which put pressure on the UAE. I am happy that we scored in the final seconds to get three points from this game.”

A disappointed UAE’s French coach Jacques Bonnevay said it was difficult for his team to recover from a goal-down. “A mistake saw us go down by a goal and it was difficult for the guys as their were low on confidence after that. We, however, managed to equalise but lack of concentration in the final seconds cost us the match,” he said.

The UAE will now take on China while Thailand will clash against Australia on November 1.