AFC U19 Championship 2010 - Positive closure

Thailand U19

No. 25 Natthawut Khamrin

Thailand's U19 finished their AFC U19 Championship campaign positive. After the second match, Thailand have been out of the tournament already. However the lads finished with a positive note, draw level with China in the last match of Group A. China already qualified for the next round before the game.

Both sides found opportunities hard to come by during the opening 30 minutes with China restricted to long shots and Thailand looking to hit the hosts on the break. Zhang Xihe saw a drive from the edge of the box denied by the legs of keeper Ukrit Wongmeema in the 26th minute before nine minutes later, Thailand took the lead.

Pattana's surging run into the box looked to have been ended by a crowd of Chinese defenders but the ball broke to the forward and he slotted past keeper Teng Shangkun from seven yards. Li Zhilang and Peng Xinli both fired harmlessly over the top as Thailand went in at the break in the ascendency.

They had a good chance to level two minutes into the second period when Wu Lei met Li Lei's cross from the left but the substitute guided his side-foot volley over the bar. Ponlachai Hongthong's curling free-kick was pushed around the post by Teng low to his left shortly afterwards before the midfielder fired a lay-off straight at the China keeper in the 64th minute when well placed.

Nine minutes later, Zhu cut inside but saw a left-footed effort from the edge of the box drift just over the bar before the forward equalised in the 77th minute. Shi Ke embarked on a driving run and shaped to shoot before slipping in Peng down the right. He reached the byline, stood up a cross towards the far post and Zhu out-jumped a defender to head home from close range.

China continued to press Thailand back and only a desperate clearance prevented them from going in front following some trickery in the box from Liu Bin Bin that saw him wriggle past three defenders.

Apisit Khamwang saw a free-kick drift wide for the Thais and the defender then almost snatched a dramatic late winner in stoppage time but his 20-yard free-kick hit the underside of the bar and bounced out.

Thailand coach Chalermvud Sangnapol after the match: If this match is the first game, I think I can dream anything but sadly this tournament is finished for us he said. I wanted to improve our players for the next tournament and I have power for next time. We can go anywhere in the world, he added. "We hope to improve the national team. I think I can tell Bryan Robson (Thailand manager) that we have three or four players that can play for the national team.

However the early exit leaves some question marks about the developemnt of the youth football in Thailand. We will came back in a few days, to put the spot on this issue.

Thailand: Ukrit Wongmeena (TW), Wittawin Clowuttiwat, Natpakan Kleabua (Noppanon Kachaplayuk, 58.), Sakda Fai-In, Abhisit Khamwang, Pholchai Hongthong, Anucha Saksai (Pokklaw A-Nan, 60.), Attaphorn Thomma, Piyarat Lajungreed (Watspon Thosanthian, 80.), Pattana Sokjoho, Natthawut Khamrin

Goals: 0-1 Pattana Sokjoho (35.), 1-1 Jianrong Zhu (77.)
Attendance: 23.000

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