AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: 5 Talking Points from Timor-Leste vs Thailand

AFF Suzuki Cup defending champions, Thailand, started their title defence in some style as they steamrolled minnows Timor-Leste 7-0 in their tournament opener at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok courtesy Adisak Kraisorn’s six-goal showing.

Timor-Leste vs Thailand

Here are five things which stood out in the match.

Timor-Leste fail to convert chances in first half

The underdogs tonight, Timor-Leste, saw a lot more of the ball than they would have expected. They had almost 46% of the possession and finished with a total of 13 shots, five of which were on target.

Their pass accuracy was fairly impressive at 80% as well. However, for all their dominance in the stats section, they fell behind massively in the goals scored tally.

Thailand make early chances count

The first half of the match was evenly contested, if we, for a moment, don’t take into account the four goals scored by Thailand. However, Timor-Leste were wasteful in front of the goal while the defending champions made everything count.

At the end of the first 45 minutes, the War Elephants had scored from all of their shots on target while the underdogs Timor-Leste hadn’t scored even one from a total of 12 attempts, out of which only three were on target.

Timor-Leste need to work on their final ball

Timor-Leste coach

With almost 50% of the ball possession and 13 shots in the 90 minutes, one would expect a side to score at least one goal, especially if the opponents haven’t parked the bus.

Timor-Leste, however, were guilty of not being patient and finding the perfect final ball. A shortcoming which worked directly in the favour of Thailand. If the minnows want to punch above their weight in the tournament, they’ll have to work on their final deliveries and finishing.

Adisak Kraisorn’s breathtaking goal-scoring exploits

Thailand’s 27-year-old striker Adisak Kraisorn was at his brilliant best tonight. He scored four goals in the first half and two more in the second to finish with as many as six goals.

Kraisorn started the match brightly and opened the scoring in the third minute itself. He then doubled Thailand’s lead in the 13th minute before putting in two more in the 31st and 45th minutes respectively.

The striker wasn’t done though as he returned after the break to score from open play in the 50th minute and one from the spot seven minutes later. He fell short of Noh Alam Shah’s record of most goals in a Suzuki Cup match by only a goal.

The Singapore legend had achieved the record back in 2007 against Laos.

AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 Golden Boot already decided?

Adisak Kraisorn

Most goals in an edition of the Suzuki Cup were scored by Noh Alam Shah in 2007 when he finished the tournament with 10 goals, seven of which came in a single match.

The closest someone got to him was Indonesia’s Bambang Pamungkas, whose eight-goal exploit won him the Golden Boot back in 2002. Thailand’s Natipong Sritong-In and Indonesia’s Ilham Jaya Kesuma won the Golden Boot with seven goals each in 1996 and 2004 respectively.

With six goals tonight itself, Adisak Kraisorn is now a heavy favourite to finish the tournament’s highest goalscorer even if his team fails to qualify for the knockouts.

Thailand still have three more group stage matches and their number 9 has all the time in the world to break the legendary Singaporean’s record.