Thailand recorded an impressive 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to move joint-top of Group G alongside Vietnam in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
It was the returning Teerasil Dangda, who missed the previous round of international matches, who got the War Elephants off to a dream start at the Thammasat Stadium, meeting a teasing cross by Ekanit Panya and sending a header past Khalid Eisa.
But, just before halftime, the Thailand defence went to sleep as Ali Mabkhout was allowed to find space between both opposition centre-backs and stoop low to meet Al Hassan Saleh’s left-wing cross with a powerful header into the back of the net.
Just six minutes after the restart, however, Thailand reclaimed the lead as Ekanit continued to shine, popping up at the back post to meet Nitipong Selanon’s right-wing cross and clinically sidefoot a shot in at the near post.
Expectedly, the hosts then had to weather a late assault by UAE but stood firm to hang on to what could prove to be a crucial three points.
THAILAND: Siwarak Tedsungnoen, Nitipong Selanon (Suphanat Mueanta 90+4’), Manuel Bihr, Tanaboon Kesarat, Theerathon Bunmathan, Sasalak Haiprakhon (Sivakorn Tiatrakul 59’), Sarach Yooyen (Narubadin Weerawatnodom 86’), Phitiwat Sukjitthammakul, Ekanit Panya, Supachok Sarachat, Teerasil Dangda.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Khalid Eisa, Mohammed Al-Menhali, Khalifa Al-Hammadi, Mohammed Al-Attas, Al Hassan Saleh, Hasan Ali, Ahmed Barman (Tariq Hassan 59’), Khalil Ibrahim (Jassem Yaqoub 54’), Omar Abdulrahman (Ahmed Khalil 72’), Ali Saleh, Ali Mabkhout.
Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation