Football: Perfect Thais cruise into final

(AFP via Straits Times) – Thailand, nicknamed the War Elephants, have stomped into the final of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup after a 4-0 second-leg semi-final win over Myanmar.

The holders, who have won all five games so far this campaign, go through 6-0 on aggregate after their victory at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok last night.

It took the home side a little more than half an hour to take the lead through Sarawut Masuk in the 33rd minute. The 26-year-old winger headed firmly into the bottom-left corner of the net after connecting with a cross from defender Theerathon Bunmathan.

Myanmar re-emerged in the second half eager to make amends and it was not long before 20-year-old striker Than Paing came close – hitting the frame of Thailand’s goal in the 48th minute.

However, Sarawut was again instrumental in Thailand’s second goal in the 65th minute, when he was fouled by Yan Aung Kyaw in the box. Theerathon stepped up and made no mistake in converting the penalty.

The Thais grabbed a third goal in the 76th minute via Siroch Chatthong, who shot from a tight angle to hit the roof of the net.

Chanathip Songkrasin then added a fourth seven minutes from the final whistle – a goal assisted by the impressive Sarawut.

In the end, the Thais’ clinical finishing made the difference, with their four goals coming from just five shots on target.

Thailand will take on Indonesia in the two-legged final on December 14 and 17 with a record fifth title in sight.

Vietnamese football authorities apologized yesterday after fans hurled stones at the Indonesian team bus shortly after their semi-final clash in Hanoi, breaking a window and injuring two of the visiting team’s staff.

The second leg of the fiercely contested tie at the My Dinh National Stadium on Wednesday night ended in a 2-2 draw after extra time, sending Indonesia into the final with a 4-3 aggregate score.

But as the victorious visitors left the stadium, a mob of Vietnamese football fans – reportedly on motorbikes – attacked their bus, throwing rocks and shattering at least one window.

Indonesia’s assistant coach and the team doctor were slightly injured in the incident, according to Le Hoai Anh, the general secretary of Vietnam’s Football Federation.

“We would like to apologize to the Indonesian team for this unexpected incident,” Anh said, adding that a replacement vehicle was dispatched to pick up the team.

Security was also strengthened around the players’ hotel that evening, he added.


Top: Thailand’s Sarawut Masuk (centre) is hugged by teammate Teerasil Dangda after scoring against Myanmar during the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal football match between Thailand and Myanmar on December 8, 2016. Photo: AFP via Straits Times








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