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Malaysia edge Thailand in first AFF semi-final

Malaysia edge Thailand in first AFF semi-final

FOOTBALL: Thailand will have an uphill climb in the second leg of their Asean Football Federation (AFF) semi-final after a 1-0 away loss to Malaysia on Saturday (Jan 7).

Football
By Bangkok Post

Monday 9 January 2023, 02:00PM


Thailand’s Suphanan Bureerat is pursued by Malaysia’s Faisal Halim (left) and Darren Lok during the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 semi-final match at Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Photo: AFP

Thailand’s Suphanan Bureerat is pursued by Malaysia’s Faisal Halim (left) and Darren Lok during the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 semi-final match at Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Photo: AFP

Malaysia found the all-important goal against the run of play in the 11th minute as Faisal Halim beat Thai keeper Kittipong Phuthawchueak to score his fourth goal of the tournament, celebrating his 25th birthday with the crowd of 59,000 at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

The second half witnessed Malaysia having a goal ruled out while Thailand’s appeal for a late penalty was turned down too, meaning the six-time champions tasted their first defeat in the AFF Championship since 2016.

Going into the match Thailand were intent on getting an away goal, which would have helped them in their second-leg match at Thammasat Stadium in Bangkok tomorrow.

The defending champions exerted pressure on the hosts straight from the kickoff. Pansa Hemviboon almost gave the Thais a lead just five minutes in as Ekanit Panya’s cross from a short corner was headed wide by the unmarked Thai centre-back.

Four minutes later, Sarach Yooyen’s delivery seemed destined for Teerasil Dangda’s head, but Malaysian keeper Syihan Hazmi came off his line to punch the cross away from danger.

Ixina Thailand

The War Elephants held an edge in possession in the first half, but hardly troubled the Malaysian defence. They came the closest to scoring shortly after the start of the second half when Teerasil headed a Suphanan Bureerat cross against the woodwork.

Thailand keeper Kittipong found himself in no man’s land in the 55th minute as he came out to punch away a free-kick. But the ball bounced off Dominic Tan’s back into the goal only for the referee to disallow the goal for a foul in the build-up after much deliberation.

In the other semi-final, Indonesia and Vietnam have a date in Hanoi today after grinding out a 0-0 draw in Jakarta on Friday.

The winners of the semi-finals will square off in a two-leg championship final to be played on Jan 13 and 16.

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