Friday, July 13, 2007

Double delight for Pipat as Thailand record historic victory

Thai fans, Rajamangala Stadium, July 12
Substitute Pipat Thonkanya came off the bench to fire Thailand to their first ever victory at the AFC Asian Cup finals, scoring a second half brace as the hosts shocked a lacklustre Oman.

Thailand dominated the visitors but had to wait until the seventieth minute for Thonkanya to tap home at the far post, following a superb cross from fellow substitute Teeratep Winothai.

Eight minutes later some route one football caused pandemonium in the Omani box, as Winothai flicked on goalkeeper Kosin Hatthairattanakool long clearance, allowing Thonkaya to race through and smash a volley beyond Ali Al-Habsi in the Oman goal.

The result was arguably good news for group rivals Australia, with suggestions that Iraq and Oman might ease up in their clash leading many Australian fans to cheer on the underdog Thai's.

Australian fans cheer on the Thai's
Despite the sprinkling of Australian fans in the crowd AFC officials will be disappointed with the attendance at Rajamangala National Stadium, with only around 20,000 fans turning out in hot and humid conditions.
The small but partisan crowd was nevertheless treated to an entertaining affair, in keeping with the high standard of football on display throughout the tournament so far.
Fans queue for tickets
The Thai's dominated the first half but had nothing to show for their efforts at the interval, and with Oman returning from the break with renewed vigour, Thai fans must have feared the worst.
The introduction of Winothai and Thonkanya proved the key, however, as Thailand's fresh legs took advantage of a weary Oman defence.
Thailand's charismatic coach Chanvit Polchovin admitted that he was delighted to be the first man to guide his country to a win at the Asian Cup.
He urged fans to turn out for Thailand's crucial Matchday 3 encounter against Australia, with Thailand unexpectedly standing on the verge of qualification to the knock-out stages.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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