Supachai strikes late but Bangladesh embarrass Thailand

Supachai Jaided rescued a point for Thailand again but this time the overriding emotion was embarrassment rather than pride as a 1-1 Group B draw with Bangladesh left the young War Elephants on the brink of elimination from Asian Games 2018.

Despite dominating possession, Thailand went behind early in the second half and offered little until a rally in the last 20 minutes saw Supachai equalise before several chances to win the game were squandered. 

The lowest ranked team in the tournament held on for an unlikely draw against the side that came fourth in 2014 as Thailand’s youngsters again looked a pale shadow of those that came before them.

Here are three things we saw in Thailand’s draw with Bangladesh:

Supachai to the rescue again

Despite earning Thailand a point with a wonderful added-time header against Qatar on Matchday One, Supachai did not get a start against Bangladesh and had to make do with a place on the bench.

The Buriram United striker again made an impact when, in the 80th minute, he lashed home Worachit Kanitsribampen’s cushioned pass after the Bangladeshi goalkeeper had flapped at Chayawat Buran’s cross.

The 19-year-old has recently established himself as a regular started for his club and the qualities that he brings are clear. After watching his teammates labour for 70 minutes, he added some much needed battling spirit and physical presence.

Supachai may not be the most stylish player but he proved again that he can be effective. Surely head coach Worrawoot Srimaka will have him on from the start as Thailand aim to keep their campaign alive against Uzbekistan on Sunday. 

2. Supachok fails to inspire again

Supachok Sarachat has looked the most likely heir to Chanathip Songkrasin since his debut at Buriram United in 2016. He looked fast, skilful and direct and he also had a finish on him.

He earned the Thai League Young Player of the Year award in 2017 and this year looked like a great opportunity for him to become a key player for club and book his ticket for the Asian Cup in 2019.

But, despite high hopes for him at the AFC U23 Championship in January, he made little impact in a dismal overall team performance.

He was a peripheral figure on Matchday One against Qatar at the Asian Games and could not inspire his teammates as they laboured against Bangladesh.

As a three-time Thai League winner and player with AFC Champions League experience he is the player that everyone looks to for a flash of genius. However, he found the Bangladesh defence too tough to break down as he again failed to find his best form for his country.

A busy spell late in the game aside, he did not provide the expected impetus and will do very well to convince Milan Rajevac that he deserves a place on the plane to the United Arab Emirates in January. 

3. Ekanit gamble fails to pay off

Ekanit Panya made history when he became the youngest every player to score in a Thai League game as a 15 year-old in 2015. At that time he was playing for Chiang Rai United but he has since gone out to Chiang Mai FC on loan.

The attacking midfielder’s selection ahead of several seasoned top-tier players raised eyebrows but also some excitement at the possibility of seeing a young talent on the international scene.

Unfortunately, as the young War Elephants struggled to break down a stubborn Bangladeshi side, Ekanit was a peripheral figure. 

He had one tame shot saved before he was replaced by Nopphon Ponkam just before half-time. 

Not too much should be read into an individual display given the collective malaise. But this was another selection that Worrawoot appeared to get badly wrong, and the Thais are now looking likely to exit the tournament at the group stage unless they can shock the Uzbeks.

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