| BANGKOK (March 30, 2007) – Defending champions Thailand will face debutants Australia in the final of the Asean Futsal Championship 2007 tomorrow at the Hua Mak Indoor Stadium.
The Thais, the favourites to retain the title for a record fourth time this year, overcame a jittery start to whip Malaysia 13-0 in the semifinals here this evening.
In the first semis tie, the Aussies, playing in the competition for the first time, overcame a resilient Vietnamese side 4-1 to set the stage for a showdown with the reigning champs tomorrow evening.
Thailand, despite their supreme firepower, were unable to breach the Malaysian defence in the first 10 minutes of the tie. But once Sermphun Khumthinkaew snatched the opener, it was the Thais all the way.
At the break the hosts were already five goals up and Malaysia knew they were in for a rough ride. Despite trying their best, they Malaysians could not find an answer to the terrific Thai strikeforce.
In the end, star striker Anucha Munjaren and Panomkorn Saisorn helped themselves to hat tricks while Sermphun, Prasert Innui and Ekaphan Suratsawang scored two goals each.
“I’m naturally happy with the score line as we were using a lot of young players ad they showed good tactic – I expected to win big,” said Pattaya Piemkum.
“I don’t think that it will be a problem playing against Australia who have physically bigger players. W will just have to move a lot more.”
In the earlier semis match, Australia came alive after the break to score three goals to steer them into the final. Australia head coach Scot Gilligan felt that the team did not play as well as in the first as they have done in the second.
“We probably gave Vietnam a lot more respect than we should have in the first half,” said Gilligan after the match.
“We went forward and pressured them more after the break and since we got the pace, we did a lot better. For the final match, I believe that Thailand will be hard to beat.
“They are in-form at the moment and they are playing really well.”
Following a first deadlock, Australia scored first through Anh Tuan Cao in the24th minute before Vietnam replied with the equaliser in the 29th minute off Huynh Dong Kha five minutes later.
But there was no stopping the Aussies from making their first appearance in the final when Simon Keith restored the lead in the 32nd minute before Tuan Cao added his second of the afternoon in the 36th minute and for Scott Dingwalll to wrap things up two minutes to the end.
2.30pm: THIRD and FOURTH PLACING: Vietnam vs Malaysia
4.30pm: FINAL: Australia vs Thailand