AFF Cup 2010: Thailand 0 Malaysia 0 (5/12/2010)
JAKARTA: Thailand did little to help their chances in the AFF Suzuki Cup as they were held to a goalless draw by Malaysia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Saturday.
The three-time champions struggled to break down their opponents on a heavy surface as they were held to their second consecutive draw in Group A. They will likely need a win against hosts Indonesia in their final group game on Tuesday to guarantee their progress to the last four.
Bryan Robson made six changes to his starting line-up after their disappointing 2-2 opening draw with Laos and the Thais were much the brighter side in the first half as they probed the Malaysian defence without success in heavy conditions following afternoon rain.
Sarayoot Chaikamdee, Thailand's two-goal hero against Laos, appeared eager to add to his total as he fired a low shot narrowly wide of the left upright after seven minutes and headed a dangerous cross from the right by Suree Sukha straight at goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat a minute later.
In a half of few chances, the best opportunity fell to the Thais in the 18th minute when Teerasil Dangda dashed into box to receive a return pass from Datsakorn Thonglao. He got to the ball just ahead of Khairul but lost control at the crucial moment and failed to to get his attempt on target.
With the Malaysian defence showing much better discipline after losing 5-1 to Indonesia in the opener, the Thais were reduced to shooting from distance with Datsakorn firing straight at Khairul from 20 metres in the 29th minute and blazing over with a long-range attempt just before half-time.
Malaysia had an opportunity to break the deadlock three minutes into the second half when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the box for Natthaphong Samana's two-footed challenge on Norshahrul Idlan. Skipper Safiq Raman took the kick that flew just wide of Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool's right post.
The Thais appeared short of ideas as they continued to shoot from distance. Suchao Nutnum saw his low attempt from 25 metres touched wide by Khairul and then shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
Malaysia very nearly grabbed a goal against the run of play in the 64th minute. Norshahrul tricked his way down the right flank and squared the ball for an unmarked S. Kunalan who blazed over from 15 metres.
Sarayoot was kept quiet for much of the game but he very nearly ended the stalemate 11 minutes from time when he turned defender in the Malaysian box but failed to beat Khairul from close range.
With eight minutes left, the Thais appeared to have won a penalty when Suchao went down on the box but Myanmar referee Win Cho saw the things differently and booked the player for diving.
With the game heading into stoppage time, Teerasil broke into the Malaysian box on the left but his attempt was deflected onto the Malaysian crossbar and out of play. He had a second chance from the resulting corner but his shot was heroically blocked by a defender.