The Thai national football team beat China 1-0 in the first game of the 2019 China Cup at the Guangxi Sports Center in the city of Nanning. This was essentially a reply of the AFC Asia Cup round of 16 where China knocked out Thailand with a 2-1 win.
This is the third edition of the China Cup, while it is Thailand’s first time competing in the competition. Thai national team head coach Sirisak Yodyardthai appears to be taking this competition seriously as he took the best team available to China.
From the start Thailand had the better of the play creating plenty of chances through their quick passes and fluid movements. Their first chance came from a well worked free-kick. Left wing back Theerathon Bunmathan played a short ball to Sarach Yooyen. The defensive midfielder then played a through-ball to Chanathip Songkrasin in the box. Chanathip was able to cut inside beating marker Wei Shihao before playing a ball cross goal to Adisak Kraisorn. Requiring only a tap in, the Muangthong striker somehow managed to mss the ball and let it run through his legs.
Chanathip Songkrasin was able to spare his teammate from any blushes as he deservedly put Thailand ahead soon after. Adisak Kraisorn did well to receive the ball, hold it up and turn towards goal before playing a through ball to Thitipan Puangchan before playing the ball to Chanathip Songkrasin to pass it into the net. Chinese left back Li Lei would feel disappointed as he allowed Thitipan Puangchan to get the inside line on his run from which he was able to find Chanathip.
The Thai goal seemingly bought the Chinese to life and they nearly equalised soon after. The chance came from Wei Shihao who ran at the Thai defence before playing a one-two with Zhang Xizhe. Thai midfielder Tanaboon Kesarat failed to track the run of Wei Shihao, allowing the attacker through to get a shot on goal with defender Suphan Thongsong desperately trying to block. Goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen was able to stop the first effort however in doing so allowed the ball to bounce back to Wei Shihao. Siwarak Tedsungnoen was able get up and close the angle down quickly before Wei Shihao could get a second shot off. This allowed Siwarak Tedsungnoen to deflect the effort behind for a corner and Thailand were able to survive the attack.
In the second half Thailand nearly double their lead. Theerathon Bunmathan played a through ball to Thitipan Puangchan who was left one on one with the keeper. Rather than shoot Thitipan rather unselfishly tried to play in Adisak Kraisorn for a tap in. However the ball was slightly too far in front of Adisak who was unable to reach keeping the score at 1-0.
Thailand continued to create further chances. Adisak Kraisorn should have added to the scoreline when he played a one-two in the box with Sarach Yooyen. When Adisak Kraisorn received the ball back the striker shot first time drawing a very good save from keeper Yan Junling. Adisak laid sprawled on the ground afterwards in frustration of his missed chance.
Thailand’s defence were fairly comfortable for the rest of the game with China reverting to pot shots. They managed to hold out for the rest of the game giving the side a significant away win to China. Standout performers included Chanathip Songkrasin and Thitipan Puangchan who constantly tormented the Chinese defence with their movement and creativity showing why these two players are playing in the J-League. This was a very mature performance for Chanathip who currently is one of the best players playing in Asia.
Thailand are due to play China Cup Uruguay in the final on Monday, who are the reigning champions of the competition. Uruguay are in the final after beating Uzbekistan 3-0. The final will be a useful measurement of the current level of the Thai team within world football.
Picture From Tristan Do Instagram