War Elephants show no mercy to Timor Leste

Thailand striker Adisak Kraisorn, left, scores against Timor Leste in the Suzuki Cup last night. (Photo by Varuth Hirujyatheb)


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Striker Adisak Kraisorn continued his impressive comeback to the Thai national team with a spectacular six-goal blitz that paved the way for a 7-0 victory for the War Elephants in their opening Suzuki Cup game against Timor Leste on Friday night.

Shortly before the break, Adisak carried the score to 4-0 in favour of defending champions Thailand and virtually pushed the match out of Timor Leste’s reach.

The Thais started showing their superiority over the regional minnows as soon as a sizeable crowd at Bangkok’s Rajamangala National Stadium ended a minute’s silence to pay their respects to Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhaprabha, who lost his life in a tragic helicopter crash in England on Oct 27.

The game was only three minutes old, with the crowd still pouring in through the gates, when Sanrawat Detchmitr guided a short cross from Korrakot Wiriyaudomsiri to Adisak to score from close range.

Sanrawat was once again the man behind a 12th-minute long ball to Adisak, Thailand’s chief executioner last night, who had little trouble in lobbing the ball over the head of charging Timor Leste goalkeeper Aderito Raul Fernandes to double the home team’s advantage.

Thailand’s third goal came at the half-hour mark when Nurul Sriyankem set up Adisak on a counter-attack to complete his hat-trick.

A few minutes before half-time, the two-time defending champions were assured of three points from the Group B opener as Adisak rose above everyone else to head home a Korrakot corner and make it 4-0 for the home team.

Adisak, the only SCG Muang Thong United player in the team, was hungry for more as he rattled the net twice more early in the second half.

After tapping home a short low cross from Mongkol Thosakrai, Adisak kept his cool to convert a 57th-minute penalty awarded after Nurul was pushed to the ground by a Timor Leste player inside the box.

Timor Leste were dealt another blow 15 minutes later when goalkeeper Fernandes rammed into Mongkol a yard outside the box and was given his marching orders.

However by then the War Elephants had lifted their foot off the gas pedal and while they created a few more openings late in the match, only young Supachai Chaided was able to add an injury-time goal to the Thai tally.

In the other Group B match last night, a first-half strike by midfielder Hariss Harun proved enough for Singapore to edge 2016 runners-up Indonesia 1-0.

The Philippines are the fifth team in Group B.

The big win registered by Thailand last night gave them the place at the top of Group B ahead of Singapore because of a far superior goal difference.

The regional football championship got underway with Group A games on Thursday night when Vietnam defeated Laos 3-0 and Malaysia edged Cambodia 1-0. Myanmar, the fifth side in the group, start their campaign on Monday with a clash with Cambodia.

The top two finishers in each five-team group advance to the semi-finals, which will be played in early next month, with a two-legged final to be played on Dec 11 and 15.