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AFC Asian Cup 2018-19: Thai media reacts to India's thumping win over the War Elephants

08:59 GMT+3 08/01/2019
India vs Thailand
The Thai media acknowledged Sunil Chhetri's magnificent feat that placed him above Lionel Messi ...

India created history on Sunday night by registering their first win in 55 years at the Asian Cup, completely dismantling a fragile Thailand defence. The score-line read 4-1 and the roar of the Blue Tigers travelled to the ‘land of smiles’ forcing a frown upon their faces.

As an aftermath of the disaster endured by the War Elephants, head coach Milovan Rajevac was relieved of his duties. Of course, the result of the game and the dismissal of the coach triggered a reaction in Thailand media. We take a look at how the Thai reacted to Sunday’s game.

Thailand humiliated, coach fired after Asian Cup loss to India,” read the headlines of Bangkok Post – a leading newspaper based in the capital city. Sunil Chhetri – who surpassed Lionel Messi as the second highest active international goal-scorer after his brace – was praised for his impeccable performance. India were lauded for their deserved win.

“Cricket-mad India shocked and humiliated Thailand 4-1 in the team's first Group A match of the Asian Cup football tournament on Sunday.”

“Immediately after the match, the Football Association of Thailand released Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac, already under strong criticism for weak performances by the War Elephants all during last year,” read the Bangkok-based newspaper.

The Thai media’s focus was basically threefold – praise for the Indian team, congratulations for Chhetri on overtaking Messi and criticism of Rajevac.

Chhetri passes Messi as India shock Thailand 4-1 at Asian Cup,” said The Nation as they quote the forward and centred their report around the record-breaker.

“Sunil Chhetri overtook Lionel Messi in international goals as cricket-mad India stunned Thailand 4-1 at the Asian Cup football tournament on Sunday, the veteran striker scoring twice in their Group A opener to surpass the Barcelona superstar.”

While the media was straightforward in acknowledging that the better team won, they were also brutally honest about the fact that this result was perceived as an upset.

The Daily News reported that Thailand enjoyed a better head-to-head record and were deemed favourites ahead of the opener.

“Ranked 118 according to FIFA, War Elephants were up against 97th ranked India. But in the 21 meetings between the two sides, Thailand won 11 times and India won just four times,” read the Daily News.

This further pointed to the fact that the War Elephants now face a daunting task of having to overcome stronger opponents in UAE and Bahrain.