Naypyidaw, Myanmar — Thailand defeated Singapore 1-0 in a semi-finals men’s football match at the SEA Games 2013 in Naypyidaw, Myanmar Thursday evening.
The win puts Thailand in the finals against Indonesia on Saturday night at 7:30pm.
Indonesia won the earlier match today in a penalty shootout 4-3 following a 1-1 draw with Malaysia. The Indonesian victory was considered an upset over the defending champion Malaysian team.
With the loss, the Singaporean team failed to meet their goal of reaching the finals of the SEA Games competition, and will have to settle for the bronze medal play-off match against Malaysia at 4pm on Saturday.
In tonight’s match at Zayyarthiri Stadium, Singapore missed an early opportunity to take the lead when Hafiz Abu Sujad’s left-footed shot went wide.
In the 23rd minute, Thailand scored what turned out to be the winning goal on a penalty kick after Charyl Chappuis was brought down by Madhu Mohana. Praweenwat Boonyong drilled the spot kick in to put the Thais up 1-0.
The Indonesian win over Malaysia was sweet revenge for them, as Malaysia had spoiled their party in the Jakarta SEA Games two years ago by the exact same score, 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Kurnia Meiga, the Indonesian goalkeeper, turned out to be the hero in today’s match, as he saved the opening two penalty shots by A. Thamil Arasu and Syamsol Saad.
After the match, Indonesian coach Rahmad Darmawan said, “Malaysia did well in the match by getting the equaliser but in the end we were luckier in the shootout,” he said. “Our boys played very well as a team. They never stopped running and worked really hard in this match. We will now have to focus on our recovery and be ready for the final on Saturday.”
Thailand will be a heavy favourite to win the finals match against an Indonesian team they already beat 4-1 earlier in these Myanmar SEA Games.
The Thais are trying to regain the SEA Games title they won eight straight times until 2007. In the previous two tournaments in 2009 and 2011 they were eliminated in the first round.