The Thailand War Elephants were able to shrug off their opening match defeat against India on Sunday to send Bahrain to the bottom of their group with a 1-0 victory at Rashid Al-Maktoum Stadium on Thursday night.
Following the immediate removal of Milovan Rajevic and appointment of Sirisak Yodyathai as interim head coach for the remainder of the tournament, the Thais responded well, something of which, could be attributed to their victory.
Although Thailand lagged behind throughout their contest with Bahrain in terms of statistics: eight shots (two on target) for Thailand to Bahrain’s 15 shots (three on target), 41 percent possession for Thailand to Bahrain’s 59 percent possession, and 262 completed passes for Thailand to Bahrain’s 350 completed passes, the 5-time AFF Suzuki Cup champions frustrated their counterparts with their defensive poise and composure.
In the 58th minute of the match, Thailand’s Chanathip Songkrasin unleashed a powerful left-footed shot directly in front of Bahrain’s goal, courtesy of a wonderful Tristan Do cross. It gave goalkeeper Sayed Alawi Hashem no chance of making a save.
The lone goal of the match was enough to secure the War Elephants an all-important three points in their group as they prepare to face off against tournament hosts UAE next Tuesday. The upcoming match will be an important one, as its results could be the decider in determining their place in the knockout phase of the tournament.
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