BANGKOK (30 Nov 2012) – Philippines joined Thailand for the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup when they beat Myanmar 2-0 in the final match day of Group A this evening at the Supachalasai Stadium.
With Thailand emerging as group winners following their 3-1 win over Vietnam at the Rajamangala Stadium, the Philippines came back from a deadlock at the half to score twice through Philip Younghusband in the 47th minute and Angeles Guirado deep in injury time.
For Thailand, who had already carved out two wins from two matches, they ensured their place at the top of Group A with a commanding performance as they rested the likes of Teerasil Dangda and also Jakkapan Pornsai.
“Nine points, nine goals, it’s fantastic,” said Thai coach Winfried Schaefer afterwards. “I have to take my hats off to the players for their fighting spirit. We played without several regulars and the replacements played very well. This is an effort of all 22 players.”
In place of Teerasil and Jakkapan, the striker’s position was taken over by Kirati Keawsombut with Sumanya Purisay pulling the strings from midfield.
Letting Vietnam most of the work at the start of the tie, Cao Sy Cuong tested Thai keeper Kawin Thamsatchanan in the ninth minute with a stinger that came off the crossbar.
Thailand found back with perhaps their first real chance in the 21st minute and they found the back of the net. Apipoo Suntornpanavej crossed in from the right and Kirati just flicked the ball in past 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup player of the tournament Duong Hong Son.
But perhaps the outstanding player in the tie against the speedy Vietnamese side was the nippy and small frame figure of substitute Chanathip Songkrasin, who came on for Piyaphon Buntao just before the break.
He certainly created a lot of problems for Vietnam which forced them to pick up several yellow cards on a trot.
In the 65th minute, Thailand went further in front with Kirati once again making good on a floater from Sompong Soleb. But just six minutes later, Thailand had to play with a man less when Arthit was red carded for retaliation against Vietnam’s Le Tan Tai.
But striker Nguyen Van Quyet would turn out to both the hero and also the villain for Vietnam when he pulled a goal back for his team in the 73rd minute before letting in an own goal just nine minutes later.
“We are very disappointed (in not making the semi-finals),” added Ngo Le Bang, the team manager of Vietnam. “The performance was good but it was just that we could not score. The whole coaching staff including myself will have to be responsible for this.”
Pictures by Thananuwat Srirasant and Arkhom Inthon (World Sport Group)