Thailand edge erratic India

The home side dominated the match for most part but some defensive lapses and lack of finishing put paid to their hopes of taking revenge of the 0-1 loss to the same opponent in Bangkok on Saturday.

They were also denied a penalty by Indian referee Pratap Singh in injury time when regular captain Bhaichung Bhutia, who replaced an unimpressive Mohammad Rafi in the 71st minute, was clearly brought down by a Thai defender.

The referee blew the whistle but he chose to give a free-kick from just outside the box and India failed to score from the set piece.

Bhaichung, who lifted the Indian attack up several notches after his entry with some fine attempts, also made known his displeasure to the match officials after the game.

For Thailand, who fielded a mix of senior and Under-23 players, Winothai Teerathep and Keawsombat Keerati scored in the 48th and 65th minutes respectively while NP Pradeep found the target for India in the 60th minute at Ambedkar Stadium which saw heavy downpour just before the match. Bob Houghton’s boys made use of slow build-ups to attack and had more possession inside the opposition half but the quick attacks through short passes by the Thais created problems for the Indian back four of Gouramangi Singh, Anwar Ali, Mahesh Gawli and Surkumar Singh.

Thailand were denied by the woodwork in the 35th minute when left-winger Dechmitr Wichaya sent a powerful shot from well outside the box which came back into play after hitting the crossbar.

In the second half, India dominated with more threatening moves and possession at the rival half but failed to find the final pass. But three minutes into the second half Thailand scored with Teerathep chipping over out-of-line Indian custodian Paul as the Indian defence was caught napping from a quick interchange of passes.

India equalised in the 60th minute from a three-player build-up. Anthony Pereira’s cross from the right was headed down by Sunil Chhetri and off the rebound from a Thai defender, Pradeep slotted the ball home.

Thailand took just five minutes to take the lead again with India conceding a soft goal. Teerathep’s first time header off a cross from the left beat Indian goalkeeper Paul and his strike partner Keerati, who was left unmarked inside the penalty area, nodded home off the rebound from the crossbar.

India pressed hard for an equaliser but the Thai’s stood firm.

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