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Thailand humiliated, coach fired after Asian Cup loss to India

Thailand humiliated, coach fired after Asian Cup loss to India

FOOTBALL: Cricket-mad India shocked and humiliated Thailand 4-1 in the team’s first Group A match of the Asian Cup football tournament on Sunday.

footballFootball
By Bangkok Post

Monday 7 January 2019, 10:06AM


India’s forward Jeje Lalpekhlua (centre, facing camera) celebrates after scoring against a Thai team whose body language says it all. Photo: AFP

India’s forward Jeje Lalpekhlua (centre, facing camera) celebrates after scoring against a Thai team whose body language says it all. Photo: AFP

Immediately after the match, the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) released Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac, already under strong criticism for weak performances by the War Elephants all during last year.

Assistant coach Sirisak Yodyathai will handle the team through the rest of its Asian Cup campaign – at least two more matches.

Veteran Indian striker Sunil Chhetri scored twice, and overtook Lionel Messi to become the second highest-scoring active international player, with 66, one more than Messi. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (85) is ahead of him.

Watched by the 12 Wild Boars – Chiang Rai schoolboys and their coach rescued from flooded Tham Luang cave last July after being trapped for more than two weeks – the War Elephants had little answer to India's brimming energy in Abu Dhabi.

The loss leaves Thailand alone in the cellar of Group A in the tournament – with two games to play against even tougher opponents than India.

Chhetri opened the scoring when he smashed home from the penalty spot after 27 minutes.

The Blue Tigers were in front for just seven minutes, though, as Thai captain Teerasil Dangda gave hope by bravely heading home a Theerathon Bunmathan free kick.

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But Chhetri drilled his second goal of the game moments into the second half following a lung-bursting run down the right from Udanta Singh.

Things got worse for Thailand when Anirudh Thapa chipped in a third in the 68th minute before substitute Lalpekhlua Jeje completed the rout to leave India as unlikely group leaders.

Hosts United Arab Emirates were held 1-1 by Bahrain in Saturday's curtain-raiser.

Thailand next face Bahrain at 6pm on Thursday (Thailand time), and will play their last Group A game at 11pm on Monday of next week, against the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Asian Cup tournament hosts.

In the first big shock of the tournament, Jordanthe world's 109th-ranked teampulled off one of the biggest wins in its history by beating Australia 1-0 on Sunday.

Read original story here.

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