Thailand reach Asean final after 0-0 draw with Vietnam (January 29, 2007)
Thailand secured their place in the final of the Asean Football Championships after holding Vietnam to a 0-0 draw in the second leg of the semi-final at a packed Supachalasai stadium yesterday. Having beaten Vietnam 2-0 in Hanoi, the Thai side will now play Singapore in the first leg of the final in Singapore on Wednesday. The return leg will be in Bangkok next Sunday.
Defending champions Singapore beat Malaysia 5-4 on penalties on Saturday.
Although it was not the most entertaining of matches, the enthusiastic 30,000 crowd were happy to see Thailand advance to the final. Vietnam had a couple of chances but never got on top and Thailand looked to be in control for most of the time.
''We got the result we needed,'' said Thai head coach Charnwit Phalajivin. ''Vietnam played well today but we had it under control. They did not make many chances''
Charnwith said his team did not go into all out attack because they needed to save themselves for the first leg of the final on Wednesday.
Team captain, Kiatisak Zico Senamuang played last night despite having struggled with an ankle injury picked up in Hanoi. He was not at his best and was substituted in the second half, but hopes to be fit for Wednesday's match.
In a fairly uneventful first half Thailand's best chance fell to Sarayuth Chaikamdee in the 11th minute but the striker hoofed his close range shot over the bar. Sarayuth also failed to put away a couple of half-chances.
Midfielder Datsakorn Thonglao was put in a good position in the 38th minute but hit the ball well wide of the post.
Just before half-time Le Cong Vinh had a good opportunity for Vietnam but he blasted the ball over the top.
In the second half Vietnam sought for a much-needed goal to break the deadlock but rarely looked like scoring.
The Thai defence played particularly well and gave the Vietnamese forwards few opportunities.
Vietnam's Austrian coach Alfred Riedl said he was disappointed his team had not reached the final.
''We should have beaten Thailand in Hanoi. Our problem is scoring goals. If you don't score you don't win. It is something we have to work on,'' he said.
Concerning Wednesday's first leg against Singapore, Charnwith admitted Thailand would be happy with a draw.
''It will be a tough match against Singapore in front of their own fans. We have to be careful with their striker, Nor Alam Shah who is very good in the air,'' he said.
Yesterday: Thailand 0 Vietnam 0 (Thailand win 2-0 on aggregate)
Saturday: Singapore 1 Malaysia 1 (Singapore won 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate over two legs)
Final _ two legs (January 31 and February 4): Singapore v Thailand