Thailand begin on winning note against VN (December 26, 2006)



Thailand got off to a good start in the 37th King's Cup on Sunday night when they put on a solid display to defeat Vietnam 2-1 in the opening match of the tournament at Supachalasai Stadium.


In the other match Singapore and Kazakhstan drew 0-0.


It was like old times for Thailand with veteran striker and skipper Kiatisak "Zico" Senamuang leading the attack with Sarayuth Chaikumdee.


Thailand took the game took the game to Vietnam who had to defend stubbornly in the opening half-hour when both Nirut Surasiang and Sarayuth failed to convert good chances.


It was Vietnam who opened the scoring against the run of play in the 35th minute when Phan Thanh Binh stabbed the ball home after some sloppy play in the Thai defence.


The Vietnamese hadn't finished celebrating their surprise lead when Thailand equalised within a minute when Sarayuth headed home a cross from Kwanchai Phuangprakob.


It was no more than Thailand deserved and the hosts continued to attack, but the score remained 1-1 at half-time.


Thailand still looked the better side in the second half and took the lead in the 62nd minute when Kiatisak threaded through a beautiful pass to Asian Games star Datsakorn Thonglao who fired the ball home to make it 2-1.


Vietnam threw everything at Thailand in a bid to get the equaliser but the Thai defence held firm for a well-deserved victory.


Thai coach Charnwit Phalajivin said he was happy with the result but thought his side could have played better. "Although we attacked a lot we still found a problem scoring goals," he said. "The defence was also sloppy at times and we conceded a bad goal."


Alfred Riedl, Vietnam's Austrian coach said he was disappointed with the result. "We should have done better," he said. "We made chances but did not take them. Our passing was very poor."


In the second match Kazakhstan dominated the game but squandered a host of chances as Singapore hung on for a draw.


"We really should have scored several goals," said Kazakhstan's coach Arno Pijpers.


Thailand play Singapore today at 7 pm. in a match that will be shown live on Channel 7. Kazakhstan take on Vietnam at 4.30 pm.


Tickets are available at the stadium priced 50, 100 and 200 baht.


STANDINGS P W D L F A Pts


Thailand 1 1 0 0 2 1 3

Kazakhstan 1 0 1 0 0 0 1

Singapore 1 0 1 0 0 0 1

Vietnam 1 0 0 1 1 2 0