BANGKOK - Substitute Sutee Suksomkit scored a stunning second-half equaliser to earn Thailand a surprise 1-1 draw with Premier League Liverpool on Wednesday. Lifted by a partisan Bangkok crowd dressed mainly in red, the 18-times English champions went ahead after only six minutes through Ryan Babel but were unable to hold on for a pre-season victory in wet and humid conditions. Babel latched on to an incisive pass from captain Jamie Carragher, turned a defender and calmly slotted the ball underneath onrushing keeper Kosin Hathairattanakul. Babel almost made it two 15 minutes later when a Lucas Leivas cross-field pass found him in space at the far post but the Dutch international's tame shot went wide. The Thai team, coached by former England international Peter Reid, put some good passing movements together but failed to trouble the Liverpool defence before the break. Liverpool made a number of changes at halftime, but Martin Skrtel could only last 10 minutes before limping off injured. Thailand drew level when substitute Sutee combined with striker Teerasul Dangda in the 71st minute to split the Liverpool defence, before executing a clinical finish into the bottom left-hand corner. Thailand's monsoon rains poured down on the players soon after and an ecstatic cheer erupted throughout the packed crowd when Fernando Torres entered the field. He could have scored within 30 seconds of coming on but shot poorly into the arms of Kosin, raising a loud cheer from a Rajamangala stadium awash with fans kitted out in replica Liverpool shirts. "I think the fans are more pleased with Torres than us," Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez joked. "We had some chances, we were playing against a team that was well organised, and they play quick. "You come to a new continent and conditions are different, always more difficult, but I was pleased with the performance of some players and also pleased to see the national team play well." Liverpool will play the Singapore national team on Sunday on the second and final leg of their Asian tour.
22 July 2009
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