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AFC U23 Championship

Thailand undone by Australia's physicality but still holds qualification card

11:27 GMT+4 12/01/2020
Nicholas D'Agostino | U23 Thailand vs U23 Bahrain | AFC U23 Championship 2020 | Group Stage
Thailand lost 2-1 to Australia in their second match of the tournament but results elsewhere meant that their fate is still in their hands.

Buoyed by their opening day 5-0 thumping of Bahrain, Thailand started the better side against Australia and took the lead through Anon Amornlerdsak's effort in the 24th minute.

But the Young Socceroos fought back with Nicholas D'Agostino grabbing a brace to seal a comeback win for Australia and gave them their first three points of the competition.

Thailand's head coach Akira Nishio still praised his boys for their effort but put the result down to the superior physicality advantage which their opponent had over them.

“We challenged well and the players did the very best they could. It was a physical game and we were playing a very powerful Australian side. 

"We were always aware that there was a physical difference between ourselves and Australia. As a result, we tried to negate this with our speed and in the first half we did that well.

“In the second half we weren’t as sharp in the final third and as you could see we failed to get behind the Australian defence or cope with their physicality," said Nishino after the match.

However despite the setback, Thailand are still on course to reach the knockout phase and prolong their stay in the tournament which they are hosting.

Iraq were held to a 2-2 draw in the other Group A match played on Saturday and that meant Thailand are still one point better than the Iraqis.

Thailand will face Iraq in the final group match on 14 January where they only need to avoid defeat to ensure that their presence in the tournament continues.

 

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