Thailand overwhelm Bahrain in U23 match
Thailand cruised past Bahrain in their opening AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 Group A match at the Thammasat Stadium in Rangsit, while Iraq and Australia ended in a draw.
The War Elephants stunned Bahrain in a 5-0 victory with Suphanat Mueanta scroring the first goal 12 minutes into the match and netting another 11 minutes before the game ended.
In-form Supachok Sarachat fired the ball into the net at 47th and Jaroensak Wongoarn scored twice in stoppage-time.
Iraq's Mohammed Qasim struck with a long range beauty to cancel out Australian Reno Piscopo's equally stunning free-kick as they settled for a 1-1 draw.
Qasim had only been on the field eight minutes before earning Abdulghani Shahad's side a point having seen Piscopo give the Socceroos the lead with a high quality strike into the top corner of Ali Khadim's goal.
Piscopo, who had been a threat throughout his 64 minutes on the field, put Australia ahead just two minutes before he was replaced by Zachary Duncan when he arrowed his free-kick from 25 yards beyond the outstretched hands of Khadim.
That goal was no less than the Australians deserved after dominating the second half until that point, with Iraq having offered little after an even first half.
A moment's silence was held prior to kick off in memory of those affected by the fires in Australia and, as the game developed, it was Graham Arnold's side who had the first sight of goal.
But, after Piscopo put his side in front in the 62nd minute, the Australians' advantage was to last just 15 minutes as Qasim pounced from 20 yards out, brushing aside Keanu Baccus before hitting a low shot that beat Thomas Glover via the inside of his left post.
Glover managed to put a hand on the ball to push it wide minutes later.
Iraq play Bahrain next on Saturday while Australia will face hosts Thailand on the same day.
The top three teams of the tournaments earn tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
FULL TIME: THAILAND 5-0 BAHRAIN!
90+1′ – GOAL! THAILAND 5-0 Bahrain!
The substitute has a second goal as Jaroensak Wonggorn makes it 5-0 to Thailand! What a start to their 2020 AFC U23 Championship!
90′ – Four minutes added on!
88′ – GOAL! THAILAND 4-0 Bahrain!
A fourth for Thailand as substitute Jaroensak Wonggorn fires on through the legs of the defender and into the goal!
80′ – GOAL! THAILAND 3-0 Bahrain!
Suphanat Mueanta with his second of the night as he gets behind the Bahrain defence with his pace and slots the ball past the goalkeeper to make it 3-0 to Thailand!
72′ – Chance for Thailand. The hosts break away in a counter with Anon Amornlertsak launching a cross into the box directed at Supachai Jaided, but the lanky forward can’t get his header on target.
60′ – One hour played. Thailand 2-0 Bahrain!
55′ – Brilliant save from Thailand goalkeeper Korraphat Nareechan to deny a header from Hamad Al Shamsan.
47′ – GOAL! THAILAND 2-0 Bahrain!
Thailand have been head and shoulders above Bahrain in the first 45 minutes and they only have their finishing to blame for not being in front by more than a goal at half time!
45′ – SECOND HALF begins!
This time it is Supachok Sarachat who dances into the box, takes his marker out of the game with quick feet and fires one in from a very tight angle to double Thailand’s lead very early on in this second period!
HALF TIME: THAILAND 1-0 BAHRAIN!
45+1′ – Supachok Sarachat now hits the woodwork, but looks like the referee has already signalled for offside.45′ – Two minutes added on!
43′ – Chance for Bahrain as a free kick is whipped across the goal and Hasan Ali Al Karrani almost makes a connection in front of the goal.
40′ – Five minutes left of the first half. Thailand continue to dominate while Bahrain’s moves have been predictable so far.
31′ – Another chance for Suphanat Mueanta as he is played through on goal, but this time his shot is blocked by Bahrain goalkeeper Ammar Mohamed Ahmed.
19′ – WOODWORK! Thailand have hit the crossbar and it is Buriram United youngster Suphanat again with the strike!
15′ – Quarter of an hour played!
17-year-old Suphanat Mueanta has given hosts Thailand the lead in their opening match of the AFC U23 Championship 2020. Thailand have deserved to take the lead here!
11′ – GOAL! THAILAND 1-0 Bahrain!
4′ – Attacking start from Thailand as Supachai Jaided goes close with a shot from a tight angle for the hosts!
1′ – KICK OFF!
Thailand Starting 11: Korraphat Nareechan (Goalkeeper), Thitathorn Auksornsr, Shinnaphat Leeaoh (Captain), Meechok Marhasaranu, Kritsada Kaman, Saringkan Promsupa, Supachok Sarachat, Anon Amornlertsak, Sorawit Panthong, Suphanat Mueanta, Supachai Jaided
Bahrain Starting 11: Ammar Mohamed Ahmed (Goalkeeper), Hamad Mahmood Al Shamsan, Adnan Al Shirah, Sabba Jameel, Salem Adel Hasan, Mohamed Marhoon, Abdulrahman Ahmedi, Hashim Sayed isa, Mohamed Al Hardan (Captain), Sanad Saleh, Hasan Al Karrani
The U23 team of Thailand will face U23 Bahrain in the opening match of AFC U23 Championship 2020 finals. Akira Nishino aims to win all 3 points, as U23 Bahrain is underestimated compared to 2 other opponents. The remaining in the same group are U23 Australia and U23 Iraq.
The performance of the Thai U23 team is better than the opponent. In the last match, U23 Thailand defeated Myanmar 3-2 in a friendly before the tournament. In the past 9 matches, U23 Thailand has only 3 defeats and wins 5.
Meanwhile, Bahrain U23s has fallen after winning all 3 matches in the qualifying round. In the last 8 friendly matches, the team from West Asia only won 1 victory and lost up to 5 matches. In the previous encounter with U23 Thailand, they ứa defeated 3 goals.
Akira Nishino said: “We have some pressure when attending the tournament as a host. We have been preparing for this tournament for the past year. The whole team will try to achieve the best results. Obviously both Iraq, Bahrain and Australia are of a higher level than us. However, we have prepared, carefully analyzed the opponents and took advantage of the strengths to gain the right to go forward ”.
Bahrain coach said: "I feel very fortunate to have met U23 Thailand at the opening match. This will be a football party when there are many fans in the stadium. My players will have to stay focused throughout the game. Our team has been focused for a long time. We are happy to be present at the tournament. This is an opportunity for us to win the right to participate in the Tokyo Olympics.
U23 Bahrain has three players who have just played in the Gulf Cup for the national team and I think they will play a very important part in the team to aim to win the right to attend the Tokyo Olympics."
U23 Thailand vs U23 Bahrain lineups:
U23 Thailand: Chao, Akkratum, Aksorn Si, Saengdao, Promsupa, Davis, Dolog, Im-Aura, Panthong, Thawornsak, Supachok, Suphanat.
U23 Bahrain: Ahmed, Adel, Zaimoor, Jameel, Bughammar, Mohammed, Ahmadi, Hardan, Salama, Khalid, Sanad.
Prediction: U23 Thailand 2-1 U23 Bahrain