Thailand pull surprising win against Iraq at U23 Asian Cup

By Lam Thoa   April 16, 2024 | 10:15 pm PT
Thailand pull surprising win against Iraq at U23 Asian Cup
Striker Teerasak Poeiphimai (number 8) celebrates a goal for Thailand in the U23 Asian Cup in Qatar on April 16, 2024. Photo by Changsuek
Thailand created a big upset when they beat Iraq 2-0 in the opening game of group C in the U23 Asian Cup.

Iraq, the 2013 champion, were considered stronger than Thailand before the clash on Tuesday night. However, the West Asian team stumbled against a well-organized Thailand. They even had to play with 10 men after striker Mohammed Watifi received a red card in the 72nd minute.

In this match, Thailand played attacking football from the beginning. Their efforts paid off with the opening goal in the 26th minute. From the left flank, Erawan Garnier passed an accurate long ball to Waris Choolthong on the opposite flank to run down and shoot through the legs of goalkeeper Hussein Rasetim. In this play, the fault was on Hadi Al-Hasan because he was busy looking at the ball and forgot about Choolthong.

After conceding, Iraq were still at risk of losing a player, after Salim Ahmed stepped on the ankle of a Thailand player in the 30th minute. The referee did not check VAR and only gave a yellow card to Admad. A day ago, an Indonesia player was sent off for a similar foul in the game with host Qatar.

With the goal advantage, Thailand switched to counterattacking football. Thanks to that, Iraq gained more possession, but when they reached the final third of the field, it was immediately surrounded and protected by Thailand players. It was not until the 60th minute that Iraq created a scoring opportunity when Ali Jasim's free kick hit the wall and changed direction. However, goalkeeper Soponwit Rakyart was able to make a quick save.

While the attackers struggled to find an equalizer, Iraq made mistakes on defense. In the 65th minute, after running back to support the defense in a corner kick, striker Amin Al-Hamawi had better height but did not jump, allowing Teerasak Poeiphimai to double the gap for Thailand with a header.

Seven minutes later, things got more difficult for Iraq because they had to play with 10 men. Waitifi was following the ball and fouled a Thailand defender. VAR stepped in and the referee gave the Iraq striker a second yellow card, sending him off.

The 2-0 score remained until the final whistle, helping Thailand get three points and climb to second in group C, behind defending champions Saudi Arabia who beat Tajikistan 4-2 in the late match. In the next two games, Thailand will meet Saudi Arabia on April 19 and Tajikistan on April 22.

U23 Asian Cup highlights: Iraq 0-2 Thailand

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