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Thailand hold back late Burmese ral
Date: 06 Oct 1997
Thailand hold back late Burmese rally
Defending champions start off with 2-1 win
JAKARTA Defending champions Thailand got off to a winning start beating
Burma 2-1 in their opening Group A soccer match of the SEA Games at the
Lebakbulus Stadium in southern Jakarta yesterday. Midfielder Worawut Srimaka
scored the first goal off a penalty kick after one of the Burmese defenders
handled the ball inside the box in the 24th minute.
Worawut had no trouble in scoring from the spot as he booted the ball to the
left of Burmese goalkeeper Aung Kyaw Kyaw, who anticipated the direction of
the shot but failed to block it.
Five minutes later, to the surprise of the Burmese team, Thai defender
Choketawee Promrat fired a sizzling shot from around 20 metres that gave the
defending champions their second goal of the match.
Dozens of Thai supporters waved their national flags and beat drums and
cymbals to cheer their team on. The Burmese fans, mostly comprising members of
their contingent to the Games, also tried to raise the spirits of their
Kiertisak Senamuang and captain Natee Tongsukkaew helped create a fine chance
several minutes later but midfielder Thawatchai Damrong-ongtrakul failed to
The Thais dominated the first half while the Burmese players tried to use long
passes to counter the slick and stylish moves created by the Thai midfielders.
The Burmese trio of Myo Hlaing Win, Win Aung and Maung Maung Oo stepped up the
pressure in the second half. They created some fine chances but Maung Maung Oo
twice failed to score although Thai goalkeeper Wacharapong Somchit was left
with no chance of saving even the feeblest of efforts on each occasion.
Both sides made several changes in the second half but only Burmese defender
Soe Naing was able to make an impact on the scoreline when he netted his
team's only goal, 11 minutes into the half.
Soe Naing scored from close range after the Thai defenders and goalkeeper were
all taken by surprise. They were too engrossed in witnessing a change of
players to notice that the Burmese had already heaved the ball into the box
for Soe Naing to stun Wacharapong.
Thai team manager Theerachai Vuttithum, speaking after the opener, said he was
not satisfied with the performance of his side, claiming that in the second
half the Thai players did not play as well as in the first.
''Burma played very aggressively. They hit very hard," Theerachai said, adding
that he was hopeful that his team would improve when they play Brunei
Natee, who looked tired but still in high spirits, told The Nation that he was
also not satisfied with the second half.
Natee said the team lost their domination under Burmese pressure. But he was
optimistic that the team would play better in the next match.
In another Group A match, Brunei, who have improved considerably since
participating in the last Games in Chiang Mai two years ago, hammered regional
soccer pushovers Cambodia 4-0.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian team began their campaign for SEA Games soccer gold
with a bang as they routed Laos 5-2 in the Senayan main stadium in Jakarta
yesterday. Indonesian striker Widodo Putro scored two of the goals.
But Malaysia, drawn with the hosts in Group B, sent a warning signal to the
Indonesians by routing Vietnam, runners-up from the 1995 Chiang Mai SEA Games,
4-0. The other side in the group are the Philippines.