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Thailand U23 vs Singapore U23

A 5-0 victory over Singapore in the second round, on the afternoon of May 9, helped Mano Polking’s teachers and students lead Group B despite losing the opening match.

*Score: Davies 45’+1, Stewart 47′ (own goal), Ekanit 51′ 66′, Korawich 81′.

Going on the field with the pressure to win seems to make the legs of Thai players tight. In the first half, despite comfortably controlling the game thanks to their superior force, the Golden Temple team faced many difficulties against the defenses of Singapore. Thailand entered the game slowly, but did not attack massively. However, when they accelerated from the 20th minute, neither created clear chances.

Ekanit (right) and Ben Davies made their mark in Thailand's bold victory.  Photo: Lam Thoa.

Ekanit (right) and Ben Davies made their mark in Thailand’s bold victory. Image: Lam Thoo.

Even coach Polking’s team was lucky to escape the penalty in the situation where Anusak pushed behind with Stewart. A few minutes later, Thailand missed their best opportunity from the start. Ekanit broke the offside trap to catch Worachit’s right-footed pass. But the finish in the midfield’s goal-keeper position was not dangerous enough to defeat goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam – who took the initiative to close the corner.

Thought the first half would end with a draw, Thailand was awarded an injury time penalty after Syahrul Bin Sazali fouled Ben Davies. The midfielder playing in England is one of Thailand’s best soccer players in the past two matches. Seeing the referee point at the 11m mark, Davies immediately stood up, put the ball in the penalty spot and fooled Nizam to put Thailand ahead before the break.

This goal relieves pressure on Thailand. Things went even better for them when, early in the second half, Singapore’s midfielder Stewart fumbled for an own goal in an attempt to stop Worachit’s cross. Four minutes later, Singapore’s defense continued to make mistakes, letting Worachit pass easily before setting up Ekanit to finish close. At this point, Singapore has almost no motivation to compete.

Singapore thought they deserved the penalty first after Anusak knocked Stewart down.  Photo: Duc Dong.

Singapore thought they deserved the penalty first after Anusak knocked Stewart down. Image: Duc Dong.

The next two tables came as a corollary. With his feet unburdened, Ekanit dribbled past two Singaporean players in front of the penalty box and then shot deep into the near corner to become the first player to score twice in a game at the 31st SEA Games. 10 minutes before time ran out, money. substitute Korawich cushioned the ball close to the wall after a cross from the left to determine the score of the match.

The collapse of Singapore partly came from coach Nazri Nasir. His decision to replace defender Joel Chew with striker Jin Glenn after the break caused the Singapore defense to lose the certainty of the first half. Meanwhile, the attack does not create any difficulties for the opponent. Singapore only had three shots in the whole match, one of which was on target, coming from a situation where the ball hit the Thai defender’s foot and changed direction in the first half.

Bin Sazali's foul on Davies at the end of the first half was the turning point of the game.  Photo: Lam Thoa.

Bin Sazali’s foul on Davies at the end of the first half was the turning point of the game. Image: Lam Thoo.

After a disastrous loss to Malaysia, coach Polking and team leader Nualphan Lamsam finally had the opportunity to celebrate the goals of the home team. The Brazilian leader started the match with a controversial situation, when he was asked by the referee to wear a bib shirt because it was the same color as the referee team. Polking protested, prompting Mrs Lamsam to appease her. But at the end of the game, the Thai coach expressed satisfaction because the shirt change seemed to help his team have more luck.

This victory helped Thailand jump from the bottom of the table to the top of Group B. The same three points as Cambodia and Malaysia, but Polking’s teachers and students have a better goal difference. However, the remaining two teams have only played one match and will have the opportunity to take the lead in the next leg, when Thailand is on break. Thailand’s next match takes place on May 14, against Cambodia while Singapore will meet this opponent three days earlier.

Quang Huy

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