Men's team in running for football semis
published : 22 Aug 2017 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Two-time defending champions Thailand succeeded in resurrecting their campaign for a place in the SEA Games men's football semi-finals with a 3-0 win over Cambodia on Sunday night but still remain the subject of heavy social media criticism.
The victory over Cambodia, which saw Chaiyawat Buran pick up a two-match ban following a red card, was secured with goals from Phicha Au-tra (35th minute) and Nattawut Sombatyotha (77th and 88th).
Cambodia's Sok Samnang was also sent off for clashing with Chaiyawat, reducing both sides to 10 players each in the first half.
Thailand still lag behind Vietnam, who have nine points from three Group B matches.
The War Elephants and Indonesia are tied for second with seven points each and both now have an identical goal difference.
Meanwhile, skipper Chenrop Samphaodi yesterday attempted to downplay reports of unease in the Thai camp.
"Coach Worrawoot [Srimaka] called me today," said Chenrop, "and asked me to appease the other players.
"There are many players in the team who are still young and have never faced this kind of criticism.
"But it seems that everyone in the team is mentally strong and ready to get through these difficulties together."
Thailand will take on the Philippines this afternoon.
Worrawoot said: "I am happy that the players showed hunger for victory in the game against Cambodia, something which was missing from our first two matches.
"For the game against the Philippines, we would have to make some changes in some positions.
"The Philippines looked good at the beginning of their game with Vietnam [who won 4-0 on Thursday] but later they showed a lack of stamina.
"We are aiming to score goals to improve our goal difference. I hope we will be able to deliver another winning result and improve our semi-final prospects."
The top two teams from Group A and Group B qualify for the semi-finals of the U22 event.
Meanwhile, the Thai women's team won their second straight match, thrashing hosts Malaysia 6-0 on Sunday night in the five-team round-robin tournament.