Thailand in five-star performance (February 15, 2007)



'Leesaw' leads 5-1 win over Turkmenistan

TOR CHITTINAND
Thailand romped to a convincing 5-1 victory over Turkmenistan in the second leg of the first pre-Olympic qualifying round at Supachalasai stadium yesterday. The victory gave them an aggregate 6-1 win over the two legs and in the next round they will face North Korea in Bangkok on February 28, a much tougher assignment.

Teerathep ''Leesaw'' Winothai led Thailand's goal spree with two goals while also on target were Teerasil Dangda, Chakrit Buathong and Warut Wongdee.

The result was never in doubt once Thailand opened the scoring after just over half an a hour.

Apart from the opening 20 minutes, Turkmenistan were outplayed for most of the match and their only reply came from an unfortunate own goal just after half-time by Kiatprawut Saiwaew whose short headed back pass beat the goalkeeper Chalermkiat Sombatpan.

Coach Prapol Pongpanich was delighted with his team's performance. ''Everything seemed to click today and we put on a good display,'' he said. ''Once we scored the first goal I knew we would be okay.''

He said the warmer weather also helped his players after the cold conditions they experienced in Turkmenistan. ''But now we have to prepare for North Korea which will be much more difficult.''

With Thailand holding a 1-0 lead after the first leg Turkmenistan knew they had to attack and they were at their liveliest in the opening exchanges. But once Thailand settled down the home team started to look dangerous.

Looking lively, Teerathep led the attack well although he was guilty of missing some good chances in the opening half hour.

Apipoo Sunthornpanavej was also creating chances down the left.

Thailand's pressure finally paid off in the 32nd minute. With the Turkmenistan defence in disarray Apipoo's shot was only half-cleared and Teerasil was on hand to put it into the back of the net.

Within a minute Thailand were 2-0 up when Teerathep broke through on the left and scored a fine individual goal.

Thailand were now totally in charge and continued to keep up the pressure.

It was Teerathep again sho scored in the 42nd minute after some good work by Jakkraphan Kaewprom.

Thailand went in at the interval 3-0 up on the night and 4-0 aggregate and the match was already virtually won.

However they got a jolt at the start of the second half when Kiatprawut tried to nod the ball back to his keeper in the 46th minute but instead found the back of his own net.

This briefly gave Turkmenistan renewed heart but they never really looked like they could get back into the game.

Thailand picked up their fourth goal in the 60th minute when Teerathep's shot was only pushed out by the keeper and Chakrit followed through. cracking the ball home with a powerful left-footed shot.

Towards the end it was just a matter of how many Thailand would score now and they added one more in the 71st minute when Warut rounded off a nice move involving several players to make it 5-1.

Things got a bit rough in the later stages with Turkmenistan players guilty of some late tackles and a few yellow cards were shown.

Thailand's team manager, Kasem Jariyawatwong was very pleased with his side. ''They played very well today.'' he said. ''That should give them some confidence when we take on North Korea. We must beat them in Bangkok.''