Thailand pulled off a massive result on the fourth matchday of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers when they defeated United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2-1 at the Thammasat Stadium on Tuesday.
What makes the result all the more impressive is the fact that they did so in the absence of two of their biggest stars — Chanathip Songkrasin and Thitipan Puangchan both of whom ply their trade in the Japanese top division.
Thailand stun UAE to go top of World Cup qualifying group
Veteran striker Teerasil Dangda gave hosts Thailand the lead in the 26th minute, but Ali Mabkhout levelled the score in the first-half added time for UAE. However, 19-year-old Ekanit Panya emerged as the hero for the War Elephants finding the winner in the 51st minute.
And Thailand’s head coach Akira Nishino reiterated the importance of teamwork following the win. “To get results, we have to play as a team. When players perform well, their teammates respond and that is what happened against the UAE,” the Japanese coach said (via The-AFC.com).
Thailand sit top of the Group G standings with seven points — the same as Vietnam who are second, while UAE are third with six points. Malaysia and Indonesia are fourth and fifth.
เจ้าบุ๊ค เอกนิษฐ์ ปัญญา โชว์ฟอร์มเด่นคว้ารางวัล Man of the Match ในเกมนี้ไปครอง#ช้างศึก #เชียร์ไทยใจเดียวกัน #TogetherAsOne #บอลไทย #ฟุตบอลไทย #นักฟุตบอลทีมชาติไทย #Thailand #Football #FAThailand #AsianQualifiers pic.twitter.com/K0H0CF6m3u
— Changsuek (@Changsuek_TH) October 15, 2019
“We have only played three matches and we don’t want to look too far ahead. We want to focus on one game at a time. From this game against the UAE, we have learnt new things which will help when we face Malaysia in our next match [on November 14],” the former Japan head coach said.
“We have to continue what we showed against the UAE, who are formidable opponents. We have to show that Thailand football can compete with the best,” he added.
(Photo credit: FA Thailand)