Group D: Thailand 8-1 Kyrgyz Republic
Taipei: Thailand will face defending champions Islamic Republic of Iran in the AFC Futsal Championship quarter-finals 2018 after they defeated Kyrgyz Republic 8-1 in a dominant display on Tuesday.
Jose Maria Pazos’ side had suffered a shock defeat to Lebanon in Group D on Sunday and faced a must-win tie against the Central Asians at University of Taipei Gymnasium, but responded in style to ensure qualification for the last eight.
Suphawut Thueanklang gave the ASEAN side the lead a little over two minutes into the match, crisply volleying Jirawat Sornwichian’s corner past Kirill Ermolov and in off the inside of the post.
And the same player went close to doubling the advantage for Thailand with four minutes of the half remaining after he controlled a long ball upfield on his chest and, in one motion, swiveled and fired a stunning volley onto the crossbar.
Iuldashbai Salimbaev went close to restoring parity with a header that went narrowly wide of Kanison Phoopun’s right-hand post, but in an immediate response Thailand went not just two goals ahead but three, with both scored by the same player.
First Apiwat Chaemcharoen burst down the left, beating a defender, before steering a smart shot across Ermolov, and then moments later a Thailand corner saw Jetsada Chudech’s ball into the area directed past Ermoblov by Apiwat for his second of the night.
The Southeast Asians maintained their momentum after the interval with Suphawut adding his second and Thailand’s fourth from a set-piece less than a minute into the second half before Nattavut Madyalan struck the foot of the Kyrgyz Republic post.
Suphawut could have had his hat-trick with just over 10 minutes of the match remaining but Ermolov did well to turn the Thai star’s penalty onto the post.
But shortly after the Kyrgyz Republic custodian was picking the ball out of his net for a fifth time, when Nattavut burst clear to beat him at his near post from close range.
Former AFC Futsal Player of the Year Suphawut did finally complete his hat-trick, successfully converting from the spot and then seeing his third penalty of the night hit the post, before Jetsada made it 7-0 with a shot from outside the area that beat Ermolov.
Salimbaev did net a consolation for the Central Asians after pouncing on a rebound with just over three minutes remaining but Jetsada ensured it was Thailand who rounded off the scoring and advanced to face a huge quarter-final match-up with the holders on Thursday.
Amirzhan Mukanov: Kyrgyz Republic coach
"Unfortunately, they scored two quick goals against us and then we couldn’t play our game. We made mistakes for the goals as our most experienced players were off the pitch at the time we conceded. The Thailand team are very strong, one of the favourites for the title here. As Thailand lost to Lebanon we know they had to win tonight and they raised their level - our players were maybe not ready to play in such a big game. Our players are young though and they will improve as a result of this experience."
Jose Maria Pazos: Thailand coach
"Tonight’s match was a reaction to the defeat to Lebanon on Sunday. We owed a debt to our fans and our country. We played very badly in the last match. In fact, we didn’t just play badly, we didn’t even play. We didn’t fight on the pitch. We knew we needed to redeem ourselves from that game. So today we saw the real Thailand, the Thailand everyone expects, the Thailand that I, as coach, feel proud of. After the game against Lebanon we had a lot of pressure and we were very disappointed in ourselves. We had to recover the confidence of our players. They didn’t need to do anything special, they just needed to play like themselves: because we’re a good team, a very good team.
"We have the biggest challenge in the quarter-final now. For me, the third best team in the world. If they play at 100 percent, no one in Asia can beat them. But if they don’t play at their top level, and we play like we did today, then we are one of the teams that can beat them."