Group A: Bahrain 0-1 Thailand
Dubai: Thailand kept their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 hopes alive by defeating Bahrain 1-0 in a Group A clash at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Thursday.
Chanathip Songkrasin was the hero as the Southeast Asians secured a remarkable result after their 4-1 defeat to India on Matchday One.
For Bahrain, who drew 1-1 with the United Arab Emirates in their opener, the defeat means they will have to beat India in their final match to keep their knockout stage hopes alive.
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As head coach Miroslav Soukup had promised, Bahrain started aggressively and seized control of the match from the first blow of the whistle.
Thailand, however, were compact defensively with interim head coach Sirisak Yodyardthai making five changes to the team that lost to India and were able to deal with the Bahrain attacks easily.
The Southeast Asians relied on counter attacks, coming close in the 20th minute but captain Teerasil Dangda’s effort was blocked by Bahrain goalkeeper Sayed Shubbar Alawi.
Bahrain had their chances too as they kept Thai goalkeeper Sivarak Tedsungnoen busy, with the custodian pulling off a double-save against Mohamed Marhood and Sayed Dhiya Saeed in the 28th minute.
Bahrain had a glimpse at goal four minutes from the end of the half with Marhoon sending in a superb cross but Mohamed Al Romaihi failed to keep his header down.
As Bahrain failed to translate their dominance into goals, Thailand started the second half on a more promising note as they become adventurous in their forays upfront.
It was an approach that paid dividends in the 58th minute as Tristan Do launched a cross into the Bahrain penalty box. The ball was deflected by Ahmed Ali Juma but a surging Chanathip was quick to send a left-footed shot past ‘keeper Shubbar Alawi.
Boosted by the goal, Thailand went in search of a second and the War Elephants came extremely close to doubling their lead when Songkrasin’s pass found an unmarked Adisak Kraisorn but his effort was denied by the upright in the 71st minute.
In their final group stage matches, Bahrain will take on India at the Sharjah Stadium, while Thailand play host nation United Arab Emirates in Al Ain’s Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on Monday.
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