Thailand have made it to the knockout stages of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 in the most dramatic fashion. Their campaign looked to have gone off the track after a 4-1 defeat to India. However, they recovered and how!
Thailand defeated Bahrain in their second match by a solitary goal form Chanathip Songkrasin and then held hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) to a 1-1 draw to progress to the knockout stages for only the second time in their history.
They will now face China PR in the Round of 16 tie on January 20. But before that, let’s take a look at who were the top 5 pass masters in this Thailand side during the group phase.
5) Teerasil Dangda – 79 passes
Strikers barely get any touches on the ball compared to midfielders or defenders. Still, Thailand’s striker Teerasil Dangda makes it as one of the players who made the most passes in the group stages for the War Elephants. The Muangthong United attacker made 79 passes, including two key passes, at a success rate of 70.9 per cent. The 30-year-old also scored Thailand’s consolation goal in their disastrous 4-1 defeat to India.
4) Tristan Do – 82 passes
The France-born star made the right-back position his during the Asian Cup. He made 82 passes during the three matches in the group stage of which 53 of them made its way to a teammate. However, what is telling about the full-back’s contribution to the War Elephants’ attack is the five key passes he has made from his defensive position.
3) Chanathip Songkrasin – 96 passes
AFC Asian Cup 2019 Player of Day 6: CHANATHIP SONGKRASIN
After failing to impress in Thailand’s first outing against India, Chanathip was a man reborn after Milovan Rajevac left the team. He took the responsibility into his own hands and delivered for the Thai national team. And numbers are there to prove it. The Consadole Sapporo attacking midfielder made 96 passes at a very impressive success rate of 84.4 per cent. He also made four key passes in the three games and scored the decisive winner against Bahrain.
2) Thitipan Puangchan – 116 passes
Thitipan scored Thailand’s leveller against hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) which guaranteed them a place in the Round of 16. However, his influence wasn’t in anyway limited to that single goal. The 25-year-old, who joined the newly promoted J.League club Oita Trinita on Friday, made 116 passes out of which 82 were successful. He also fired six shots in three matches of which three were on target.
1) Theerathon Bunmathan – 139 passes
It is rather surprising to see a full-back top the chart for the number of passes, but that is what Theerathon has done in the Asian Cup. He played 139 passes and completed 119 of them — that is a success rate of 79.9 percent. He also made three key passes and provided an assist in the group stages.