Thailand lift Nations Cup after edging hosts Malaysia

Thailand bombarded the Malaysian defence but excellent defending from the hosts nevertheless limited the regional powerhouses to a 2-1 win in Malacca on Sunday.

Thailand won the inaugural Nations Cup after a relatively straightforward game against Malaysia at Hang Jebat Stadium.

The Thais, who only made one change to the line-up from Friday’s win over Vietnam, again raced off the blocks as Worawut Namvech was at the end of Suradet Klankham’s third minute free-kick. Thailand had also scored an early goal against the Vietnamese.

Frank Bernhardt’s charges looked stunned as Thailand threw men forward, sensing blood. Reduced to mere counterattacks, the Malaysians retreated in hope of preventing Thailand for running riot.

Fortunately for the Tigers, Chenrop and co. did not bring their shooting boots on and squandered a host of chances throughout the match.

Malaysia did put the Thais under pressure after the half-hour mark and were rewarded through speedster Nur Syamie Iszuan Amin in the 35th minute. Jafri Firdaus Chew got into good positions twice before the break but was unable to convert, first sending a header wide before miskicking a promising pass just a minute later.

The second-half was all about Thailand and Worrawoot Srimaka must have pondered what it’ll take to find the back of the net as his men were denied by excellent defending by Adib Zainuddin, who twice came to rescue after the visitors had already beaten custodian Amierul Hakimi Awang.

The goal eventually came whenChenrop was left with a simple tap in after the Malaysian defence was caught wanting in the 79th minute. The night did not end so well for Chenrop who received a second yellow for play acting after lying on the ground for few minutes, requesting a stretcher and later getting up to his feet.

Chenrop did, however, receive medical treatment by the pitch side for the entire six minutes of stoppage time following his sending off. Malaysian forward Jafri had to be dragged away from referee Xaypaseuth Phongsanit after confronting the latter at the end of the match.