Sarayoot Chikamdee's goal gave Thailand a 1-0 win against India in the first of the two friendlies between the two sides at the Yamaha Stadium in Nonthaburi, outside of Bangkok. The two sides will face each other again on upcoming Wednesday at Delhi's Ambedkar Stadium.
India coach Bob Houghton brought the expected side with only one change as experienced Mahesh Gawli replaced N.S. Manju in the left back position. And in the absence of regular captain Baichung Bhutia, Climax Lawrence had the honour of leading the team in the friendly.
Thailand looked a little bit more polished in their approach and they did have the better chances in the game. The first chance of the match was Thailand's in the 4th minute when Teerasil Dangda's shot hit the Indian crossbar with Subrata Pal beaten. And the Thais initially kept up the pressure as India found the going tough in the hot and humid conditions. It meant a lot of work for Subrata and the men infront of him Surkumar, Anwar, Mangi and Mahesh as Thailand kept up the pressure with India not find a way to stop the constant attacks. But towards the end of the first session things got more even and India suddenly also had their chances to go ahead. First a couple of Steven Dias free kicks didn't cause any problems to the Thais and then on the stroke of half time the ball somehow travelled to an unmarked Sunil Chhetri, whose shot from inside the box hits the crossbar and goes out. It remained goalless at the break.
After resumption a much more open game developed with still the Thais being the better of the two sides as both teams looked for their first goal and after the hour mark the Thais again had more of the game with Anwar and Subrata having to come to their teams rescue a few times. Subrata's best save of the day came in the 65th minute when a cross from Teerasil Dangda is headed goalwards by striker Sarayoot Chikamdee, but India's No.1 somehow got his hands to the ball for a sensational save as he stirs the ball over the crossbar. On the other side India had a good chance to take the lead in the 68th minute when substitute Clifford Miranda played the ball into the middle for Mohammed Rafi, but the debutants shot is blocked by the Thai keeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool. And then in the 73rd minute the Thais score the winner after a good build-up on the right, the ball comes to striker Sarayoot Chikamdee, who turns and places the ball into the far corner of the net with Subrata unable to get to it with his outstretched hands. It is the time for substitutions and this hampers the flow of the game with a lot of lost balls on both sides, but Thailand remain the more dangerous side as they have late chances to double their score. The match ends 1-0 for Thailand and India has a chance to reverse the result on Wednesday in Delhi when the two sides meet again for another friendly.
Goals: 1-0 Sarayoot Chikamdee (73').
18-Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool; 20-Panupong Wongsa, 21-Surajit Jantakul (12-Ponlawat Wangkahad), 2-Theeratorn Boonmatan, 4-Chonlatit Jantakam; 19-Phichitphong Choeichiu, 7-Datsakorn Thonglao , 8-Suchao Nuntum, 11-Rangsan Viwatchaichok; 9-Sarayoot Chikamdee, 10-Teerasil Dangda (74' 25-Pipat Thonkanya)
Substitutes: 1-Kawin Thamsatchanan, 3-Keerati Keawsombat, 5-Suttinin Phukom, 13-Ronnachai Rangsiyo, 14-Terrathep Winthoi, 15-Kabfah Boonmatoon, 16-Peter Läng, 17-Wichaya Dechmitr, 22-Kraikitti Keawsombut, 23-Surachet Ngamtip, 24-Anawin Jujeen
1-Subrata Pal; 17-Irungbam Surkumar Singh, 5-Anwar, 19-Gouramangi Moirangthem Singh, 14-Mahesh Gawli; 23-Steven Benedic Dias (66' 25-Clifford Miranda), 7-Naduparambil Pappachan Pradeep (80' 27-Mehrajuddin Wadoo), 30-Climax Lawrence (80' 8-Potsangbam Renedy Singh), 28-Anthony Pereira; 11-Sunil Chhetri, 26-M. Mohammed Rafi
Substitutes: 24-Subhasish Roy Choudhury, 3-N.S.Manju, 9-Abhishek Yadav, 18-Sushil Kumar Singh, 22-Syed Rahim Nabi