Thailand scrape narrow win (24/02/2011)

Thailand could face a tough task in the return leg in the West Bank after they managed only a 1-0 win against Palestine in a preliminary round tie of the Olympic qualifying at Supachalasai stadium last night.

Patchya Narat scored the winner after 42 minutes as the Thais squandered numerous chances.

Thailand dominated for long periods in wet conditions and should have won by a much larger margin.

Thailand's first chance came in the very first minute when Chananan Pombupha's shot was cleared by the Palestine defence.

A-nan Pokklaw beat the offside trap and went clear but he sent his shot over the bar after 27 minutes. Moments later Chananan also saw his attempt sail over the bar.

Thailand broke the deadlock when Chananan's cross found Patchya who slotted the ball home from close range.

While the Thais were dominant, Palestine also came close to shock the home team. K.H. Salem caused trouble for the Thai defence on several occasions but failed to send the ball into the back of the net.

Thailand attacked from the start in the second half in an attempt to finish off the tie. Patchya failed to convert several chances, Chalermsak Kaewsooktae's free-kick was denied by Palestine goalkeeper T. Abuhammad.

But in the final 10 minutes, Palestine were the better side with Salem just missing a tap-in.

"We played much better than Palestine," said Thailand coach Charnwit Phalajivin.

"We had several chances but failed to get a second goal. But one goal is fine."

He added: "We have to improve our scoring. In the second leg, Palestine may be under pressure because they will have to attack and this could give us space at their back."

Palestine coach Mokhtar Tlili said his team had been in Bangkok for just 48 hours before the match and his players were still tired during the game.

"We don't have a big stadium like this so the players were not familiar with playing in such a big stadium. The time difference of five hours also affected our players. The wet conditions made it difficult for us to play," he said.

"Thailand are a good team but we still have a chance in the second leg."

The second leg match will take place at Faisal Al-Husseini stadium Al-Ram, West Bank on March 9. It will be the first-ever official international match in Palestine .

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