Suphanat Mueanta strikes late as Thailand edge resolute Laos 2-0 in SEA Games 2019

Thailand

Suphanat Mueanta scored twice at the death as Thailand had to sweat it out to defeat a resolute Laos 2-0 in men’s football of SEA Games 2019 at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday.

It looked like Laos had done enough for a hard-earned point against the defending champions, but the Thailand U-22s refused to give up and found the breakthrough in the 90th minute via 17-year-old Suphanat who struck again minutes later to inflict a cruel defeat on the Laotians.

In the end, the scoreline was neither a fair reflection of the game nor did it tell the whole story. But, Thailand now have nine points from four matches and have set up a crucial game against Vietnam on the final matchday of the group stages on December 5.

It was pouring in Manila on Tuesday forcing a delayed kick off, but what was not raining in the match was goals! However, that is not to say it was boring 90 minutes of football as both teams created plenty of chances, but kept their finishing boots at home.

Laos were proving from the start that they weren’t mere pushovers and that their goalless draw against Singapore in the opener wasn’t a fluke. Soukaphone Vongchiengkham tested Thailand goalkeeper Korraphat Nareechan as early as the 10th minute as the two sides made an even start.

10 minutes later, Sittichok Paso, escaping his marker inside the box, failed to connect with a cross from the left and that was the closest Akira Nishino’s side came to scoring in the first 45 minutes.

However, Laos were left to rue a missed opportunity in the 31st minute when Bounphachan Bounkong had the goal at his mercy.

A long ball forward from the Laos defence was stolen from the legs of Thailand defender Chatchai Saengdao by Bounphachan who raced towards the goal. With only the goalkeeper to beat, the Laos forward tried to round Nareechan, but a heavy touch forced the ball out of play.

The return of downpour at half time slowed down the pace considerably in the second half, but Laos still managed to create a couple of chances with Soukaphone going close around the hour-mark.

Thailand stepped into another gear as the second half progressed and Laos goalkeeper Thilavong Solasak did well to deny Supachai Jaided’s stingy shot from inside the box in the 72nd minute.

The War Elephants had several half-chances coming their way for the remainder of the game, but Thilavong and his defence managed to keep them at bay — that was until the 90th minute when one of the goalkeeper’s punches reached only as far as Suphanat outside the box.

With the Laos box filled with commotion, the young Buriram United forward lifted the ball over the traffic and into the goal to give his side the 1-0 lead. With their shoulders down, Laos switched off after conceding as Suphanat found his second to seal the result in the injury time.

(Photo credit: FA Thailand)

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