Thailand upset Arsenal in
Thantiraphant (Bangkok Post)
Thailand's national team yesterday pulled off a shock 4-3 win over English Premiership runners-up Arsenal in front of a 50,000 crowd at
Thailand thereby achieved something no team in England did last season-scoring four past the meanest Premiership defence.
Thailand surprisingly gave a debut to goalkeeper Virach Wangchan
and he had a fine match.
Thai coach Peter Withe also fielded two other newcomers, Tananchai
Boriban and Anurak Srikerd, in midfield while Arsenal's line-up
included most of their stars-David Seaman, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Patrick Viera, Emmanuel Petit, Nicolas
Kanu and Mark Overmars.
Thailand made a brilliant start with two goals in the first 15 minutes.
After five minutes Seksan Piturat got the ball on the right before firing
straight at Seaman. The Arsenal goalkeeper pushed the ball away but
it hit the far post and bounced straight to the waiting Tongchai
Akarapong three yards out and he made no mistake.
The second goal came from a good move started by Kiatisak
Senamuang who set up Klisada Piendit and his perfect cross was
superbly headed home by the diving Kiatisak.
Arsenal tried to move up a gear and Adams twice put headers wide.
The Gunners then pulled one back when Swede Fredrik Ljungberg
crossed and Petit headed it home.
Virach then produced two saves. First Overmars hit a 20-yard shot
into his arms and then he pushed away a shot from Anelka just before half-time.
Arsenal made four changes after half-time, bringing on Luis Boa Morte, John Lukic, Kaba Daiwara and Ray
But Seksan Piturat gave the crowd something else to cheer in the 47th
minute by putting Thailand further ahead.
Then it was Kanu show-time as the talented Nigerian produced two
spectacular goals. He dribbled through the defence to make it 3-2 in
the 49th minute and did it again nine minutes later.
Thailand then made two changes with defenders Klisada and Dusit
Chalermsaeb replaced by Niwes Siriwong and Terdsak Jaiman.
The match looked like ending in a draw but three minutes before time
Seksan tried to score only to be well tackled by Petit. The ball then hit
Kiatisask on his knee and rolled past Lukic for a lucky winner.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was at a loss to recall when his
defence last conceded so many goals.
"I don't know-a long time," he said. "Defensive concentration was not
really on our minds tonight.
"We made it a little bit easy for them, but if this can give Thailand the
confidence they need it will be a positive thing. The bad thing would be
if they think tomorrow, 'we are the world champions and we don't
need to run any more'."