Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Tashkent: A last-minute winner from Wiwat Thaijaruen ensured Thailand survived a scare against Tajikistan to claim a 5-4 victory in their Group C opener of the AFC Futsal Championship on Thursday.
Suphawut Thueanklang put the two-time finalists in front at Universal Stadium on seven minutes before Nekruz Alimakhmadov levelled things up for Tajikistan midway through the first half.
Captain Mansur Mamedbabaev gave the Tajiks the lead early in the second half only for Apiwat Chaemcharoen to make it all square again soon after.
The lively Suphawat then struck twice to complete his hat-trick but Rahmonali Sharipov's brace ensured a frantic finish before Wiwat’s late winner.
“You need some luck and today it was for us and not them, so I’m very happy with the three points,” said Thailand coach Victor Hermans.
“The Tajikistan goalkeeper [Firuz Bekmurodov] was the Man of the Match so I want to compliment him. They also had a great fighting spirit and we can learn from their style of play.
“We always score a lot of goals but my defence has been a concern for a couple of years now. Everyone wants to attack, but concentration is important and that’s why we conceded to make it 4-4.”
Thailand controlled proceedings from the off and went ahead in the seventh minute when Suphawut fired in an unstoppable drive from the left after being played in by Apiwat.
But shortly after the 10-minute mark Tajikistan equalised against the run of play when Alimakhmadov received the ball with his back to goal and turned to slot under Thai keeper Chaleamsri Puangsri.
VHermans’ side continued to dominate but 17-year-old Bekmurodov was proving resolute in the Tajikistan goal, thwarting the probing Thai attack line time and again.
Then a minute after the restart Tajikistan went in front when Mamedbabaev’s clever kick-in from the right caught Chaleamsri off guard to sneak in at the near post.
But this spurred Thailand into action and Apiwat equalised from close in in the 25th minute after receiving the ball from Suphawat to make the score 2-2.
Thailand then cranked up the pressure and Bekmurodov saved twice from Suphawut’s accurate efforts from distance before Dilshod Salomov spurned two golden opportunities of his own.
Suphawat, though, was not to de denied when his piledriver gave Bekmurodov no chance on the half-hour mark, and he then notched his treble two minutes later after Alimakhmadov had received his marching orders for two bookable offences.
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Sharipov then bundled the ball into the Thai net from a yard out with six minutes remaining before scoring again in the last minute after Bekmurodov burst forward from the back. But seconds later Wiwat struck at the other end as Thailand claimed a memorable victory.
“I want to congratulate Thailand but we were also very unlucky today,” said Tajikistan coach Husein Shodiev.
“Thailand are an attacking team, but we set our target to counter attack and kept to our game plan well.
“Maybe we didn’t have enough skill to take our chances when it mattered, but now we must forget that and prepare for the next matches.”