Malayan Tigers crash to a limp defeat at the at SCG Stadium in Thailand
Thailand started the game as the more composed of the two teams, dominating possession and settling into a nice rhythm moving the ball sharply around the pitch. Malaysia adopted a more roughish approach with Gary Robbat and Aidil Zafuan both cautioned after poor challenges. The home team’s first clear chance was in the 16th minute following a beautiful free-kick from the left, but Prayad Bunya was unable to make a clean contact with the ball and headed the ball over from close range.
Malaysia continued to live dangerously and conceded a risky free-kick on the edge of their own area in the 23rd minute, they were so nearly punished by Sumanya who clipped the bar with a beautiful effort. Malaysia would not survive for long as Thailand’s pressure paid in the 26th minute as defender Prayad Bunya capped his debut with a goal after beating goalkeeper Farizal Marlias to the ball from a near-post corner to give his side a deserved lead.
Malaysia had their first effort of the evening in the 33rd minute with a free-kick from distance, however Abdul Razak struck way over the bar. Thailand were still dominating play with Pichitphong Choeichiu at the heart of most of Thailand’s attacking play, he was involved in the build up in the 42nd minute as the home team found space down the right-hand side, however Aidil was able to clear two drilled crosses.
The second half began with lots of space for Thailand to exploit as the away team looked to commit more men forward. Poor play by S. Kunanlan led to a quick Thai counter attack ending with Sumanya being felled by Buny Amin. Arthit hit the free kick, which was saved unconvincingly by Farizal at the second attempt. Kunalan almost made amends for this in the 55th minute as he cut inside Piyaphon, but could only fire over the bar.
Sumanya should have doubled the lead in the 65th minute following a poor clearance by Buny Amin but he could only snatch at his effort and hit it high. Less than a minute later Chatree beat the keeper to the ball following an exquisite pass from Attapong but his lobbed effort did not sneak under the crossbar.
Malaysia were again forced to shoot from distance with Shaari Mohd Shakir letting fly from 30 yards, but his effort was comfortably saved by Sinthaweechai . The away team were given a way back into the match in the 70th minute as Thailand’s Adul Lahsoh was shown a second yellow card in the space of three minutes following a foul on Robbat.
Despite this, Malaysia were still restricted to shots from distance, firstly in the 74th minute through Bakhtiar which was comfortably saved by Sinthaweechai, then two minutes later Aidil Zafuan hit an effort from 35 yards which had the keeper scrambling across his goal, but flew just wide.
Despite the increased Malaysian pressure it was Thailand who added to their lead through a screamer from Arthit in the 80th minute with a sensational effort from 30 plus yards which gave Farizal little chance. Malaysia’s evening went from bad to worse in the 84th minute as Aidil Zafuan was sent off for following his second booking after a rash challenge on Pichitphong.
Despite pressing hard for a consolation, Thailand held on for a comfortable two goal victory over their neighbours.