Thais to face Malaysia in crucial battle
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Thais to face Malaysia in crucial battle

Thailand's Airfan Doloh celebrates his goal against Bangladesh.
Thailand's Airfan Doloh celebrates his goal against Bangladesh.

Thailand and Malaysia will battle it out for the top spot after the two Southeast Asian rivals claimed convincing Group H victories in the AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers in Chonburi on Saturday.

Thailand were impressive in their 3-0 victory over Bangladesh while Malaysia also showed class in their 4-0 hammering of the Philippines.

The results left the two nations tied on six points after two matches with the hosts topping the group on goal difference ahead of Tuesday's showdown.

Thailand struggled in the beginning before Purachet Thodsanid broke the deadlock in the 44th minute.

The goal spurred Thailand to score another in the closing stages of the first half with Purachet finding the back of the net as the ball deflected off a Bangladesh defender.

Thailand captain Airfan Doloh then put the game beyond Bangladesh's reach with his 87th-minute effort.

Thailand U23 coach Issara Sritaro said, "We have some injured players so we tried to play it safe, but the score that came out is very good.

"In the first half, the opponents played well defensively. We told our players to be patient and keep attacking until we get ahead. We played short passing game after the break and controlled the game.

"We want to win the match with Malaysia because we are targeting to top the group standings. We'll have to send in the best players."

On Tuesday, the Philippines play Bangladesh at 5:30pm and Thailand face Malaysia at 8:30pm.

All the group winners, together with the four best second-placed teams overall, will form the final cast of 16 alongside hosts Qatar at the sixth edition of the competition, set to be played between April 15 to May 3, 2024.

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