(Result: India 1-2 Thailand)

It was again heart break for all the Indian football supporters as Team India suffered their second consecutive defeat against Thailand in the home tie played at New Delhi’s Ambedkar Stadium. Keawsombat Keerati scored the winner for Thailand in the 64th minute of the match.

India started with an unchanged line up that featured in the away match, in Bangkok. Thailand made a few changes to their starting eleven and Coach Bryan Robson decided to try out some of the youngsters, ahead of their Asian Games campaign.

It was raining quite heavily before the kick off but the damp weather failed to dampen the spirits of around ten thousand Indian fans, who were present at the stadium to support the Bhangra Boys. Thailand began the match in attacking fashion and pressed hard for an early lead. As early as in the third minute, Thailand created an opportunity to break free and Keerati unleashed a right footer. Though it landed awkwardly and bounced in front of Subrata Pal, the Indian custodian did well to collect the ball in the second attempt.

It was a disappointing performance from Sunil

In the 8th minute, Thailand got another opportunity to take the lead. But Teerathep Winothai’s shot was brilliantly saved by Subrata. India got their first real chance of the match in the 19th minute when Subrata Paul‘s goalkick was flicked on by Sunil Chhetri, but  Mohammed Rafi’s attempted drive went wide of  the far post.

A couple of minutes later Keerati connected well from a corner to direct the ball towards the Indian goal, but this time the crossbar came up to rescue the home team. From the counter attack, India got a free kick in a decent position when N.P. Pradeep was brought down unfairly by Thai defender Wangkahad Ponlawat. India’s dead ball specialist Steven Dias stepped up to take the free-kick, but his curling delivery went just wide of the left post.

Thailand kept the majority of the ball possession and they were unlucky again at the stroke of the half time as Natthaphong’s thunderous shot came off the woodwork, with Subrata Paul completely beaten.

Thailand kicked off the second half and continued to put pressure on the Indian defense, displaying fine one-touch passing skills. It was a matter of time before Indian defence cracked, and it did crack in the 48th minute. From a quick counter attack, Jarikanon Puritat released the ball to Teerathep Winothai, who did well to finish the move off with an excellent effort.

Trailing by a goal to nil, India turned on the heat in search of the equalizer. Steven Dias had a night to forget and he was replaced by Clifford Miranda in the 54th minute. That move paid off immediately, as India brought life back into the contest and equalized. Anthony Pereira collected the ball from the right and sent in a cross for Sunil Chhetri. Sunil’s header ricocheted off the goalkeeper’s body and the ball fell for N.P. Pradeep, whose header touched Thai goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan and rolled over the goal-line.

With less than half-an-hour to go and the score still tied on 1-1, Dechmitr Wichaya’s lofted cross from the left found Nataporn‘s header; but the ball rebounded off the woodwork again, but  Keerati was alert enough to guide the ball home with a low diving header.

In an desperate attempt to restore the parity, Houghton brought in Baichung Bhutia as a substitute for Mohammed Rafi in the 70th minute. The Sikkimese Sniper looked threatening and India created a few chances in the last twenty minutes. In the 85th minute, Pradeep chested a ball towards Bhutia just inside the Thai box and the Indian captain fired an acrobatic scissor-kick that missed the target by a whisker, with the goalkeeper completely beaten. Baichung continued to trouble the defenders with his excellent positioning sense and once again managed to find the target in the 90th minute, but the Thai ‘keeper averted the danger.

Bhutia: Still the best in the country

Just before the stroke of the final whistle, Bhaichung was brought down by Suttinan, just inside the box. But, the referee failed to spot the exact point of contact and instead of a deserved penalty,  a free kick was awarded to India, on the edge of the box. However, N.P. Pradeep’s delivery was disappointing and flew off target.

The scoreline remained the same until the final whistle as Bryan Robson’s boys pulled off an impressive win over their Asian rivals. The Men In Blue will have to up the ante in their next international friendly against Namibia scheduled on the 15th of September if they wish to get back to the winning ways.

 

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INDIA Line-up:

 
1-SUBRATA PAL  (GK), 17- I SURKUMAR SINGH, 5- ANWAR, 19-GOURAMANGI SINGH, 14-MAHESH GAWLI, 23-STEVEN DIAS (25-CLIFFORD MIRANDA – 56’), 30-CLIMAX LAWRENCE, 7-N P PRADEEP, 28-ANTHONY PEREIRA, 11- SUNIL CHHETRI, 26-MOHAMMED RAFI (15- BAICHUNG BHUTIA – 70’)
 SUBSTITUES-24-SUBHASISH ROY CHOUDHARY, 3-NS MANJU, 15-BHAICHUNG BHUTIA, 27-MEHRAJUDDIN WADOO, 25-CLIFFORD MIRANDA, 9-ABHISHEK YADAV, 12-DEEPAK MONDAL
***
 

THAILAND Line-up:

THAMASATCHANAN KAWIN (GK), 2-WANGKAHAD PONLAWAT, 5- PHUKHOM SUTTINUN, 6-PHANRIT NATAPORN ( C ), 3-SAMANA NATTHAPHONG, 15- BOONMATOON KHAPFA, 10- JARIKANON PURITAT, 11-VATCHIRABAN NARONGCHAI, 17-DECHMITR WICHAYA, 14-WINOTHAI TEERATHEP, 8-KEAWSOMBAT KEERATI
SUBSTITUTES: 18- SAMUEL POR CUNNINGHAM (GK), 16- LAENG PETER, 19- CHOEICHIG PHICHITPONG, 20- NGAMTIP SURACHET, 13- JUJEEN ANAWIN, 12- INUTHANAE KRAIKITTI, 9- RANGSIYO RONNACHAI

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  • redNblack_blood

    wait for namibia now :)

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  • Soccerfan

    Our performance was better than the last match in Bangkok. Climax Lawrence and Steven Dias both had a poor game. That hurt us the most. I think Renedy should be given preference over Lawrence – Lawrence has lost his pace and passing abilities or I think he is still carrying slight injury. Moreover our fitness is a concern. Players were looking tired in the 2nd half.

    Baichung once again proved why he is regarded so highly. Amazing performance again. And Subrata Paul is a gem.

    Our next match against Namibia is on 15th, right? Where is this match scheduled? Will it be shown live? If yes, please dont tell me it will come on Z-Sports, my cablewala does not give us Z-Sports feed. :(

  • Biplab

    We missed Baichung dearly. If he was available for the entire match the score line could have been different. India team looked like a TEAM only after Bhutia’s introduction. And I agree with Soccerfan here. Why Renedy should be warming the bench? Especially when Climax and Dias both are having an off day?

    Defence is our main area of concern. Anwar Ali is very slow to react. Mahesh Gawli is better than him any day. Also dont we have any better right back than Surkumar Singh. He is good in bombing forward but he always ignores his main duty which is defending.

    We need to sort out these two points before our next game against Namibia. Gaurmangi-Mahesh as CB and Renedy-Pradeed as CM will be a better option to go with.