Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dented Thai Pride

A father carries his young son to cheer for Thai football team in the Cup final against Singapore on Sunday. Photo by Narin Kruaklai of The Nation.

Thailand should have won the Asean Football Championship in Bangkok tonight, playing more aggressively than the Lions of Singapore. The home team was also aided by a very vocal and nationalistic crowd. Nearly two thousand Singapore fans didn't show up amidst possible fear of backlash arising from the bilateral tension.

There was a banner saying Thailand doesn't cheat, an obvious reference to the controversial penalty given to Singapore in the first leg of the finals last week. Was banner also referring to the state of political ties between Thailand and Singapore?

The draw in the second leg was enough for the Lions to win the cup but everyone will continue to talk about the undeserved penalty in the Singapore leg and the unforgivable walk-out by the Thai team last week.

Thailand needs a moral booster badly after a real bad year.

Singapore are Asean football champions
Singapore 1-1 Thailand (Full time)
Feb 04, 2007 AsiaOne

The Singapore Lions have won the Asean Football Championship after a tie-match in the second-leg final at the Supachalasai Stadium in Thailand.

Clearly struggling throughout the match, it did not help that Singapore were without star striker Indra Sahdan.

Thailand took the early lead with a Pipat Tonkanya goal at 35th minute of the first half. However, Singapore managed to equalised in the second half through a Mohd Khairul Amri goal at the 80th minute.

At full time the score was 1-1, giving Singapore the win with an aggregate score of 3-2. Security was tight at the sellout match in Bangkok, which comes amid growing bad blood between the two nations following a series of heated political spats.

Less than a hundred Singapore fans turned up at the stadium although about 2,000 tickets have been designated for Singapore fans.

Thai players and officials were involved in a dramatic walkout at last week's Asean championship final first leg against Singapore, where Singapore was awarded a controversial penalty.

This gave the Lions a 2-1 lead in the first-leg at the Kallang Stadium.

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