Chakrit goal seals crucial away win (February 08, 2007)
Thailand striker Teerathep Winothai, right, tries to get past a Turkmenistan player during yesterday's match in Ashgabat.
A 79th minute goal by Chakrit Buathong was enough to give Thailand an important 1-0 victory away to Turkmenistan in the pre-Olympic qualifying round first leg yesterday at the Olympic Stadium in Ashgabat. The Thai side performed well in weather that saw temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius on a bumpy pitch.
With Teerathep Winothai and Ronnachai Rangsiyo leading the attack, Thailand took the game to their opponents from the opening whistle. Teerathep had the ball in the net after just five minutes but was ruled offside.
Although Thailand dominated the first half they could not produce a goal and the teams went in at the interval with the score 0-0.
The second half was much the same story with Kiatprawut Saiwaew missing a good chance and Noppol Pitafai having a fine 25-yard shot well saved by Turkmenistan goalkeeper, Alaryanov.
Thailand kept up the pressure and were eventually rewarded in the 79th minute when Chakrit fired the ball past the keeper for that all important goal.
Shortly afterwards Teerathep had a great chance but failed to beat the keeper.
Thai team manager Kasem Jariyawatwong said he was pleased with his side's performance considering the difficult conditions.
''We should have won by three or four goals but a win is enough,'' he said.
''It was a very difficult game because of the cold weather and the bumpy pitch, but our boys adapted well, although our defence was a bit shaky at times.''
Coach Prapol Pongpanich was happy with the win but would have preferred more goals.
''If Teerathep had taken his late chance the return leg would have been much easier,'' he said.
Turkmenistan coach, Rovshan Muhadov was not very happy.
''We should not lose at home,'' he said. ''The return match will be very difficult because the Thai players have good football skills. We will try our best to beat them in Bangkok.''
Thailand will play the second leg with Turkmenistan on February 14 at Supachalasai stadium.