Asian football

Thailand reasserts mastery over Azkals, sends PH to brink after AFF blowout

Juro Morilla
Thailand reasserts mastery over Azkals, sends PH to brink after AFF blowout

SOMBER. Philippine Azkals veteran Stephan Schrock at the 2022 AFF Championship

Philippine Football Federation

The Philippine Azkals complicate their trip to the 2022 AFF Championship semifinals after falling to reigning champion Thailand once again

MANILA, Philippines – Thailand proved to be the Philippines’ bane once again in Asian football as it cruised to a 4-0 beating in the group stage of the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup on Monday, December 26, at the Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand.

Teerasil Dangda, who notched a brace in the last meeting, scored two goals against Philippines once again as he powered a header inside the first 3 minutes and then converted a penalty 4 minutes before halftime.

Providing the assist for the opening goal was Theerathon Bunmathan, who whipped in an accurate cross from the right wing for Dangda to finish with a perfectly placed header.

For Dangda’s second goal, it was Ekanit Panya who created the chance as his dribbling skills provoked Amani Aguinaldo to make a reckless tackle inside the penalty box.

Dangda completed his brace by calmly drilling the ball at the center of the goal to double the advantage of his team and grab his 22nd career goal of the regional tournament.

Adisak Kraisorn added a third goal for Thailand at the 58th minute as he finished a brilliant team goal with an exquisite left-footed shot near the goal and past Azkals goalkeeper Julian Schwarzer.

Suphanan Bureerat quadrupled Thailand’s lead at the 63-minute mark by pouncing home the rebound following Schwarzer’s block on Bordin Phala’s shot attempt.

The lopsided loss to Thailand now puts the Azkals on the brink of elimination as they only have 3 points with a -1 goal difference after playing three matches in Group A. 

On the other hand, Thailand cruised to the top of the group after accumulating 6 points and a massive +9 goal difference in just two matches.

The 2020 AFF Championship champions have yet to concede a goal in the tournament after playing Brunei and the Philippines.

Despite playing one match less, both Indonesia and Cambodia are ahead of the Azkals in the five-team group due to a better points tally and a head-to-head result. 

The fourth placed Azkals will now hope for both Indonesia and Cambodia to drop points in order for them to have a chance to finish the group in the top two and advance to the semifinal round.

Following a comfortable 5-1 victory over Brunei in their previous outing, the expectation was for the Azkals to start out strong, but the complete opposite happened as Thailand bombarded them with a stunning 15 shot attempts inside the first 45 minutes.

The defending champions also had 64% of the possession and completed 285 passes as Thailand absolutely dominated the Philippines early on.

It continued in the second half as Thailand had multiple chances to increase their lead over the Azkals, but just misfired in their attempt to add more misery to the visiting team.

The Philippines had one last chance to steal a consolation goal, but the attempt of second half substitute Sandro Reyes flew too high to find the mark.

The Azkals will play their final match in the group stage against Indonesia on Monday, January 2, 8:30 pm, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. – Rappler.com

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