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Late penalty earns Thailand victory over Laos


13-Sep-2012
Laos, whose draw with Thailand at the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup was instrumental in denying the three-time champions a place in the knock-out stages, came within five minutes of registering another shock result on Wednesday before a Teerathon Bunmathan penalty gave the home side a face-saving 2-1 victory.

Thailand, missing a string of regulars through injury and club commitments, failed to find any rhythm in the opening 45 minutes and struggled to contain a Laos side who looked sharp and full of confidence after their 2-1 victory over the Philippines on Monday.

Star striker Teerasil Dangda and midfielders Datsakorn Thonglao and Suchao Nutnam were ruled out of Thailand’s first full international since February along with several players from Chonburi and Bangkok Glass, who played a Thai League Cup match on Tuesday.

Thai-American midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong, who had been expected to make his debut after impressive displays for Buriram United, was forced to sit out the match after taking ill earlier in the week.

The visitors deservedly took the lead in the eighth minute although there was a slice of luck to their goal.

Sopha Saysana, who plays for Nong Khai in a regional league in Thailand, struck a speculative left foot shot from just outside the box which Thai keeper Kawin Tammasatchanan let slip through his hands.

The striker is making a habit of scoring against Thailand having hit the winner in the AFC U-22 Asian Cup qualifier in June.

Laos also slammed the bar in the dying embers of a first half which saw them dominate possession.

Thai coach Winfried Schafer adopted Plan B for the second half and the replacements changed the tenor of the game, Thailand surging forward and limiting Laos to sporadic counter attacks.

Surachart Sareepim, a big, bustling striker who plays for Insee Police United in the Thai Premier League, made an instant impact on the game, scoring the equaliser in the 70th minute just after coming on.

He also proved a handful at set pieces and won Thailand’s penalty in the 85th minute after a Laos defender tugged his jersey at a corner.

Laos will meet hosts Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia and Timor Leste in the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying competition in October.

Co-hosts Thailand play 2008 champions Vietnam, the Philippines and the top team from the qualifiers in Group A in November.