Thailand head coach Kiatisuk Senamuang has heaped praise on his side for their gritty performance in a narrow 1-0 loss to Saudi Arabia in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier on Thursday.
The game looked set to end as a goalless draw until Thailand midfielder Sarach Yooyen brought down Fahad Al Muwallad in the box and conceded a penalty just six minutes from time. Nawaf Al Abid made no mistake from the spot to ensure his side came out on top.
Speaking after the match, Kiatisuk said he was impressed that Thailand were able to keep Saudi Arabia at bay for the majority of the match, but was disappointed that their hard work was undone by a late penalty.
“We had a big match tonight and the performance was excellent,” Kiatisuk said. “The turning point was the penalty that we conceded but before that we managed to have a good performance and gave our opponents a hard time.
“We have improved a lot and we played on the flanks in order to reduce the threat of Saudi Arabia.”
Thailand’s next World Cup qualifier is against Japan next Tuesday, and with Samurai Blue coming off a shock 2-1 loss to the United Arab Emirates, the War Elephants will fancy their chances of springing a surprise in front of their home fans in Bangkok.
“In football, a small mistake can cost you and hopefully we will learn from this match and change the situation in the next match against Japan,” Kiatisuk said.