SINGAPORE – Thailand football team came from behind yesterday in Singapore to beat Malaysia 3-2 to become the first team in Group B to reach the semi-finals of the ASEAN Football Federation-Suzuki Cup.
Thailand should have been in front after 10 minutes, but somehow forward Kirati Keawsombat failed to convert a one-on-one chance with Malaysian keeper Che Mat.
Malaysia, who unexpectedly drew with Myanmar in their first group match on November 23, took the initiative after scoring the opening goal in the 29th minute through Zubir Amri.
The left-sided player stole the ball in the centre of the field and broke through the Thai defense before finishing coolly past goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan.
Thailand was spurred into action, and they nearly leveled the match when midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin threatened Thamsatchanan’s goal with a shot from outside the box that whistled just wide.
Thai coach Kiatisuk Senamuang brought on Adisak Kraisorn to replace on-song Keawsombat just before half-time, and he imiediately made his mark, scoring a left-footed equalizer from inside the box.
In the second half, Syafiq Rahim put Malaysia back in front in the 61st minute, after the Thai defenders left the door wide open for him.
Once, again Thailand threw everything at Malaysia, and from a free kick near the penalty area, Charryl Chappuis’s deflected shot found the back of the net in the 71st minute.
They sealed victory from another free kick, from the left wing, Kraisorn controlling the ball well to score his second from a narrow angle.
Thailand are on six points after two games and will meet Myanmar on Friday.
Myanmar 4-2 yesterday to defending champions Singapore, the tournament’s co-hosts. Singapore, in second place with three points, will play Malaysia in their next game.