Thailand put an end to six-year wait (December 31, 2006)



By Tor Chittinand

Thailand won the 37th King's Cup in emphatic style yesterday with a 3-1 win over Vietnam at a packed Supachalasai Stadium. More than 30,000 fans were treated to a quality display from the national side as goals from Sutee Suksomkit, Pipat Tonkanya and Suchao Nuthnum captured the title for the first time in six years.

Thailand got off to a bright start and striker Kiatisak 'Zico' Senamuang nearly grabbed the opener with a header, only to be denied by the Vietnamese defence.

Datsakorn Thonglao went close twice before Sutee finally got the first goal in the 38th minute after a cross from Kiatisak.

Sutee was denied with his first effort but managed to slot the ball home in the ensuing scramble.

Thailand got the second goal in the 44th minute when Punnat Klinsukon crossed from the left to allow Pipat to find the back of the net.

In the second half, Thailand got a chance in the 50th minute from Suree Sukha but the Vietnamese defenders cleared it away.

Vietnam managed to find a way back in the 68th minute through Phan Thanh Binh following confusion in the Thai defence.

That gave the visitors a lifeline but the home crowd were cheering just a minute later when Suchao grabbed the third goal to make the scoreline 3-1.

Thailand should have got a fourth through Sutee but he was denied by the woodwork.

After the match, Thailand coach Mr Charnvit Phalajivin said: ''It was a great team effort overall, the attack, midfield and defence.

''I'm happy with the way we've played here.

''Vietnam made it tough by playing a defensive game, that's why it took us so long to score.

''I would like to thank the Thai crowd for coming to watch the match.

''This is a New Year gift for the people and also to celebrate the 60th anniversary of His Majesty the King's accession to the throne.''

Vietnam's Austrian coach Alfred Riedl said his side were under par and conceded they were beaten by the better side.

''They were better than us, but we could have played better,'' he said.

''We were in third gear throughout the game and when they had the ball they were so much better than us.

''It's always the same _ my players can't play to their full potential.''

Thailand will now prepare for the Asean Championship, which starts on Jan 12.