| BANGKOK (Dec 11, 2007) – Hotshot striker Anucha Munjarern slammed a record nine goals to steer Thailand into the final of the men’s futsal competition at the Hua Mak Stadium here this evening. The Thais, who finally showed their true colours today, whipped Laos 17-1 and will take on Malaysia in the final on Friday.
Malaysia meanwhile survived a late charge from Indonesia to scrape through with a 4-3 win and claim their place in the final. The Malaysians were comfortably leading 4-1 when Indonesia clawed their way back into the game with two strikes in the last three minutes.
The manner in which Thailand outclassed their opponents should serve as a warning to their rivals in Friday’s final. The Thais dominated right from the start and except for a brief lapse during the powerplay which resulted in the Laos’ only goal, the hosts were otherwise completely in control.
Today’s result was Thailand’s most impressive in the tournament thus far, especially the performance of the deadly attacker Anucha. The player in fact netted the first goal of the match in the fourth minute and completed his hattrick by the 22nd minute. At the break, Thailand led 5-0.
In the second half, Anucha ran riot and easily slipped through the defence to hammer home seven more goals. Keattiyot Chalaemkhet netted a hattrick with goals in the 14th, 33rd and 39th minutes.
Thailand’s other goals came from Lertchai Issara (15th), Sermphan Khumthinkaew (16th), Ekkaphan Suratsawang (21st), influential skipper Panuwat Janta (27th) and Panomkorn Saison (34th).
Laos took advantage of a defensive slip-up to score once through Soukaphone two minutes from the end.
In the second semifinal this evening, Malaysia played well for over 30 minutes and that saw them improve a 1-0 lead at the break to 4-1. Malaysia snatched the lead through Addie Azwan who headed in the rebound from Muizzuddin Mohd Haris’ shot that came off the crossbar.
Indonesia had two second penalties awarded to them in the dying minutes of the first half but both skipper Jaelani Ladjanibi and Sayan Karmadi both failed to convert.
Indonesia equalised in the 26th minute through Socrates Matulessy but Addie restored the lead a minute later off a freekick. Two minutes later, the Malaysians were celebrating again when Muhamad Fadhil, from his own half, waltzed down the middle and slipped the ball in.
Mohammad Faizul scored the fourth goal in the 30th minute and it looked like it was plain sailing for the Malaysians. But that was not to be as Angga Surya Saputra hit two quick goals, in the 37th and 38th minutes. They tried hard to get the equaliser but the Malaysians managed to hang on to the end.