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War Elephants advance to semi-finals

War Elephants advance to semi-finals

FOOTBALL: Thailand remain on track to defend their Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship after winning their qualifying group and advancing to the semi-final stage.

Football
By Ben Tirebuck

Tuesday 3 January 2023, 11:49AM


Teerasil Dangda scored a brace against Cambodia last night (Jan 2). Photo: Bangkok Post

Teerasil Dangda scored a brace against Cambodia last night (Jan 2). Photo: Bangkok Post

In their final Group A match of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 yesterday (Jan 2) the War Elephants defeated Cambodia 3-1 to top the group on 10 points ahead of Indonesia on goal difference and progress to Saturda’s (Jan 7) semi-final first leg.

Goals from Sumanya Purisai and a brace from Teerasil Dangda at Thammasat Stadium in Bangkok ensured they defeated Cambodia to follow up on previous wins against Brunei (5-0) on Dec 20 and the Philippines (4-0) on Dec 26. Thailand drew their other group game 1-1 against Indonesia on Dec 29.

Thailand’s semi-final opponents will be the runner-up in Group B which, at time of press, had yet to be determined, with Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia all vying for second place.

Despite starting yesterday’s game top of the group and marginally ahead of Indonesia on goal difference, the War Elephants knew a defeat would mean exiting the competition at the first hurdle for the first time since 2010.

They also ran the risk of a second-place finish if Indonesia were able to beat the Philippines in Manila by a sufficient margin in a game that kicked off at the same time as the Bangkok encounter.

Thai Residential

However, Indonesia could only register a 2-1 win against their opponents, meaning Thailand’s 3-1 win was enough for them to finish as group winners.

Thailand dominated the opening exchanges against Cambodia yesterday with Teerasil scoring his first, a penalty, just before half-time and Purisai making it 2-0 shortly after the restart.

Sieng Chanthea pulled one back for the Cambodians midway through the second half but Teerasil’s second goal of the game put the game out of reach and ensured the victory.

Thailand will next play the runners-up of Group B on Saturday, with the first leg away from home, before they return to Bangkok for the return meeting on Monday (Jan 9).

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