Thailand did their reputation no harm at all in a close-fought encounter in Bangkok. The big difference between the two sides was the clinical finishing of the visitors. All three goals were superbly taken, particularly the third.
Thailand contested the midfield well with Chanathip causing the world ranked 29 Slovakians plenty of problems. Teerasil ploughed a lone furrow up front and at times lacked support and without being biased, Buriram’s Supachok could have provided that but remained on the bench.
However, Buriram’s other representatives Jakkaphan and Pansa both got on the scoresheet. Jakkaphan looked a different player to the one that struggles for Buriram which is something of a mystery.
Tragedy was averted in the first-half when Chanathip accidentally hit former Liverpool defender Skrtel in the face with the ball. The defender dropped to the floor in obvious distress and it appeared that he had swallowed his tongue. However, prompt attention from the medical staff ensured he recovered and was able to resume after lengthy treatment.
Thailand were rocked by a 10th minute strike by Slovakia when a left-wing attack was allowed to progress too far and the resulting pull-back was coolly finished by Duda. Thailand responded well and troubled the visitors with the speed of their attacks but poor finishing let then down.
They fell further behind in the 34th minute when Mak timed his run perfectly to collect a through ball and drill a low shot beyond Kawin. However, Thailand were gifted a lifeline in the 42nd minute.
The keeper inexplicably gave the ball away in his own area and when the ball was laid back to Jakkaphan , he was left with the simplest of finishes from ten yards.
The second-half continued in the same vein as the first, with Thailand having plenty of possession without creating too many chances. They fell two goals behind for the second time with a stunning strike by the visitors in the 67th minute.
There didn’t appear to be too much danger when Pacinda collected a flick some twenty-five yards out but he sent a superb curling shot into the top left-hand corner to leave Kawin with no chance.
Thailand clawed their way back into the game in the 78th minute when a low right-wing free-kick somehow went through a forest of legs for the unmarked Pansa to turn into the net. However, an equalizer eluded them and Slovakia held on for a deserved victory.
There were plenty of positives to take from the game but the harsh reality is, generally Thai players need to work on their technique when shooting. You see it week in, week out in the league. Many players have a tendency to lean back rather than getting over and through the ball.
Over to the coaching staffs.