Thailand exit U23 Asian Cup after disappointing group stage defeat

By Nghia Hung   April 22, 2024 | 06:37 pm PT
Thailand exit U23 Asian Cup after disappointing group stage defeat
Thailand (blue jersey) in their 0-1 defeat against Tajikistan in the U23 Asian Cup group stage game on April 22, 2024. Photo by AFC
Thailand lost 0-1 to Tajikistan on Monday night, falling to the bottom of group C and failing to reach the quarterfinals of the U23 Asian Cup.

Thailand were the most impressive Southeast Asian team in the opening round of this year's tournament after defeating Iraq 2-0. However, in the second game, they were thrashed 0-5 by Saudi Arabia and things started going downhill from there.

Before the final game of group C, Thailand still could decide their place in the race to the quarterfinals. With three points, Thailand placed above Iraq thanks to a better head-to-head record and will advance if they defeat Tajikistan, a team that had not won in the previous matches.

However, Thailand put on a disappointing performance. In the first 45 minutes, they could not have a single shot towards Tajikistan's goal. At that time, they still had hope as in the other group C match at the same time, Saudi Arabia equalized 1-1 in injury time of the first half, just nine minutes after Iraq scored the opener. If this result remained, Thailand would advance.

In the second half, things gradually went out of Thailand's reach. Iraq led Saudi Arabia 2-1 in the 63rd minute, meaning that Thailand could only enter the quarterfinals if they beat Tajikistan.

In such a tough situation, Thailand still played poor and lacked ideas. They only had 37% possession with nine shots during the match, compared to Tajikistan’s 26. In the first minute of injury time, the door slammed shut for Thailand. Their defenders did not mark Manuchekhr Safarov, who ran into the space between the two center-backs, received a cross from his teammate before heading the ball past goalkeeper Thirawooth Srauson.

The 0-1 defeat pushed Thailand to the bottom of group C. Iraq rose to the top thanks to a 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia.

In the quarterfinals, they will meet second place of group D. This position currently belongs to Vietnam, who have the same six points as Uzbekistan but a lower goal difference.

U23 Asian Cup highlights: Thailand 0-1 Tajikistan

go to top