MD5 - Group G: Malaysia 2-1 Thailand
Kuala Lumpur: Mohamadou Sumareh’s second half strike secured a crucial victory for Malaysia as they defeated Thailand 2-1 in their Asian Qualifiers Group G clash for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Thursday.
Chanathip Songkrasin opened the scoring for Thailand early in the match before Malaysia drew level through Brendan Gan before Sumareh earned his side three vital points at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
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Thailand broke the deadlock in the sixth minute when star striker Chanathip burst into the penalty box to connect with a neat cutback pass from the in-form Ekanit Panya, who did well to run past his defender and find his teammate.
Malaysia responded almost immediately with Sumareh supplying Muhammad Syafiq with a through ball down the middle but his attempt was comfortably saved by Thai captain Siwarak Tedsungnoen.
As Malaysia continued to find an equaliser, it was Gan who sent the home crowd into raptures in the 26th minute on a rain-soaked night.
Running in between two Thai defenders, the midfielder connected with Mohamed Syamer Kutty’s through pass from the left to put the ball into the bottom right corner beyond Siwarak.
Both teams were equally matched, but the next best chance fell to Malaysia on the stroke of half-time when Mohamed Safawi Rasid dribbled past his marker before firing his shot over the bar as the first half ended on level terms.
Malaysia started strongly after the break as an unmarked Corbin Ong Lawrence headed over the bar from a corner before Muhammad Syahmi’s volley from outside the box was saved by Thailand’s goalkeeper.
Ekanit was a threat for Thailand but his 50th minute effort on the edge of the six-yard box was parried away by Khairulazhan Mohd Khalid, who replaced regular shot-stopper Mohd Farizal Marlias.
Gan turned from goal scorer to provider in the 56th minute when he flicked a lovely pass over the Thai defenders to Sumareh who beat the offside trap and blasted his shot into the roof of the net to give Malaysia the lead.
Another chance fell to Malaysia in the 73rd minute with the lively Safawi getting the best of defender Yusef Elias Dolah before firing his shot straight at Siwarak. Moments later his curling free-kick from the edge of the box was superbly blocked by the outstretched goalkeeper.
As the clock ticked, Thailand continued to press for an equaliser as Supachok Sarachat’s thunderous volley just inside the box was acrobatically saved by Khairulazhan 10 minutes before full time.
Gan almost extended his side’s lead in the dying minutes but fired wide of the goal mouth as Malaysia held on for three vital points in what is shaping up to be an interesting Group G.
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