Thailand 1 Bahrain 0
By Paul Nicholson in Abu Dhabi
January 10 – Thailand, who sacked their Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac after losing their first game, turned their Asian Cup campaign around with 1-0 win over Bahrain at at the Al Maktoum Stadium.
Making five changes from team that unexpectedly lost to India 4-1, the Thais again based their game around the speed of their counter attacks with Chanathip Songkrasin delivering in the 58th minute.
Breaking down the right hand side Tristan Do crossed into the Bahrain penalty box. The ball was deflected by Ahmed Ali Juma allowing Chanathip to hammer a left-footed shot on the volley past Bahrain goalkeeper Shubbar Alawi.
It was a goal that was against the run of play but with the Bahraini’s having more than 60% of possession and committing players forward, they always looked vulnerable on the break. It was a goal as cruel as it was brilliantly taken by Chanathip.
Bahrain had their chances. In the first half Thai goalkeeper Sivarak Tedsungnoen pulled off a double-save against Mohamed Marhood and Sayed Dhiya Saeed in the 28th minute. Four minutes from time
For all their confidence on the ball Bahrain, were unable to get enough penetration of the Thai defense close to goa. For their part the Thais were unafraid to commit fouls to keep Bahrain out of their goal mouth.
In their own half Bahrain were too often scrambling to defend and Thailand could have doubled their lead when Adisak Kraisorn hit the post in the 71st minute.
Bahrain will now need a win against India in Sharjah to progress, while Thailand face host nation United Arab Emirates in Al Ain’s Hazza bin Zayed Stadium most likely needing a point to secure a pathway into the last 16.
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