Thailand made a good start for the semi-final when they drew 1-1 against the defending champion, Malaysia, in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup in Kuala Lumpur last night.
The stadium was packed with the local Malaysian supporters and for the first 10 minutes of the first half the Malaysians pressured the Thai players, not allowing them to attack.
Two minutes into the second half, the 80,000 home fans had cause to celebrate when Malaysia scored, Mahalli bin Jasuli crossing the ball from the right side and striker Norshahrul heading home to put Malaysia ahead.
Having conceded a goal, Thailand maintained their pressure. They equalised in the79th minute when Piyapol Buntao crossed from the right andTeerasil Dangda jumped and headed the ball to put Thailand level.
Malaysia could have scored the winning goal in the 88th minute but the Thai goalkeeper, Kawin Thamasatchanan, cleared the ball with a fantastic save. Then during stoppage-time, Thailand could have had the winning goal themselves when Teerasil Dangda gave the ball to Sompong Soleb, who shot over the bar.
The second leg of semi-final will be played at Supachalasai Stadium on Dec 13.
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- Writer: Tor Chittinand