Nike Match Report: Malaysia 1–1 Thailand

All is still to play for as both teams remain level after a breathless Suzuki Cup, Semi-Final first leg from Bukit Jalil thanks to talismen Teerasil Dangda and Norshahrul Talaha

The home team started much the better team as a previously unflappable Thailand team looked nervous and were guilty of wasting possession on numerous occasions.  Thailand did register the first effort in the 11th minute as Adul Lahsoh unleashed a fierce effort from 25 yards which Farizal Marlias turned around the post in style.  It took until the 17th minute until Malaysia created their first clear chance and it fell to Azammuddin Akil.  The ball came through to him at the far post following a deep cross but he headed into the ground and wide, seemingly unaware if the amount of time he had.

The Tigers were doing a good job of dominating the midfield and limiting the space of Thailand’s flair players, but as the half wore on, Datsakorin Thonglao, Teerasil Dangda and Anucha Kitpongsri began to find more space.  In the 29th minute all three players linked well and Teerasil got to the byline, but his dangerous cutback was well claimed by Farlias.  In the 34th minute later a near post effort from a free kick near the left touchline by set-piece specialist Safiq was turned around the post by Thamsatchanan in the last clear chance of the half.

Three minutes into the second half, Malaysia stunned the visitors with a goal from Norshahrul, the first time Thailand had trailed in the entire tournament.  The creator of the goal was once again the ‘Malaysian Cafu’ Mahalli Jasuli who overlapped to great effect before delivering a pinpoint near post cross to Norsharul who placed an accurate header into the corner of the net out of the reach of Thamsatchanan.

After the goal the home team predictably dropped deeper as Thailand sent on attacking reinforcements in the shape of Sompong Soleb and Apipoo Suntornpanavej, however the defensive shield of Robbat and Rohidan frustrated the visitors as Malaysia worked tirelessly and defended desperately.  Norshahrul almost got his second goal against the run of play in the 63rd minute as he beat Chonlatit Jantakam to the ball inside the area, his near post effort was spilled across the goal by Thamsatchanan, but no Malaysian was able to follow up.

Just as it seemed as if Thailand were going to be held goalless for the first time in the tournament, their talisman Teerasil Dangda scored his fourth goal of the competition.  Piyaphon Buntao crossed to the edge of the area from the right-hand side and an unmarked Dangda arrived from deep to power home a beautiful header into the top corner of the goal.

After this Thailand looked the more likely team to win the game as Malaysia’s players visibly tired, however the away team were not assisted by their manager, Winfried Schäfer being sent from the touchline for questioning the referee and his assistant one too many times. 

Substitute Safee Sali had a great chance to win the game for Malaysia in the 88th minute as Zubir Azmi’s bouncing free kick came to him at the back post, but his powerful header was straight at Thamsatchanan who turned it behind.  A shattered Norshahrul had the last chance of the game in the 94th minute as he found himself through on goal, but he lacked conviction and took the ball too wide allowing Thamsatchanan to deflect his effort over the bar.