Thailand moved a step closer to the Suzuki Cup Final with a fighting 0-0 draw in Manila. The Philipines had never beaten Thailand but they very nearly managed to break their hoodoo.
Thailand started strongly and put the Philipines defence under pressure with some neat passing.They had a good chance with a free-kick in the second minute but the shot was agonizingly wide.
The Philipines began to come into the game more and the lively Younghusband created space for himself but shot straight at the keeper in the thirtieth minute.Thailand hit back immediately.
A lovely, flowing move down the right saw Adisak get in front of his marker but he was unable to keep his first-time shot down. Chappuis then had a good shot deflected over the bar.
The Philipines almost broke the deadlock four minutes before the interval. Younghusband sent a great free-kick arrowing towards the top left-hand corner but the Thai keeper flung himself to his right and acrobatically turned the ball round the post.
So it was all square at half-time which was a fair reflection of how the game had gone. The Philipines were certainly having a go and the game was finely balanced.
Thailand started the second-half strongly and a quick break from defence saw Adisak break clear down the left. Unfortunately, his excellent low pull-back from the by-line was sent high over the bar.
Another fine move in the fiftieth minute saw Pittipat send an angled drive from the left side of the box, just too high. Three minutes later Thailand opened up the Philipines defence once again.
A swift break from defence found Adisak who burst through down the left. He found Chappuis who flicked the ball across goal but the angle was just too narrow for the Thai forward rushing in at the far post.
The game exploded in the sixty-eighth minute when Adisak was shown a straight red card. The young forward reacted angrily to a challenge from behind and a raised arm resulted in the Philipine defender receiving a cut mouth.
The assistant referee spotted the incident and the referee had no hesitation in rightly sending Adisak off. This left Thailand with a lot to do and two minutes later Younghusband shot straight at the Thai keeper when well-placed.
However, the Thai defence was looking solid and they even found time to create a few half chances themselves. Neither side had another really clear sight of goal and Thailand held out for a creditable draw.
Although they didn’t manage to score a precious away goal, Thailand must fancy their chances of finishing the job in the return in Bangkok on December 10th. However, it will be no walk in the park.