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Thailand hold back late Burmese ral

Date: 06 Oct 1997 

The Nation 

Thailand hold back late Burmese rally 

Defending champions start off with 2-1 win 


The Nation 

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 
take advantage. 

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.