Two days after blanking Brunei, Thailand scored another lopsided win in the Group G qualifier for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U19 Championship.
Thailand walloped Brunei, 9-0, during their match at the Olympic Stadium on Monday.
Yesterday’s match against CNMI was even a bigger victory for the Thais, who dominated from start to finish. The Thais blanked the Northern Mariana team 21-0, in what was the biggest margin of victory so far in the group qualifier that also includes Cambodia, Malaysia, and Brunei.
Before this match, Thailand’s 9-0 drubbing of Brunei and Cambodia’s 9-0 win against CNMI represented the most lopsided wins in the group qualifier.
After the first few minutes, the outcome of the match was never in doubt as the team from the ‘Land of Smiles ‘utterly dominated CNMI on both ends of the field.
Forward Phadungkiat Artkitkran, the match’s best player, opened the scoring for Thailand in the 17th minute. Artkitkran scored a total of five goals in the match.
Forward Suphanat Mueanta followed Artkitkran with a goal of his own in the 19th minute. After forward Achitpol Keereerom scored to give Thailand a 3-0 advantage in the 23rd minute, Artkitkran scored another two goals as the Thais raced to a 5-0 lead halfway through the first half.
The CNMI offense led by star forward Sunjoon Perry Tenorio sputtered in the face of a determined Thai defense that only allowed but a few opportunities for CNMI to come up close and get the chance to score. The few attempts of CNMI players at the goal were easily blocked or swatted away by Thai goalie Thirawooth Sraunson.
“It was a disappointing loss. We will try to win in our next game,” a hopeful Tenorio said after the game. CNMI has yet to win in the tournament after losses to Brunei and Cambodia earlier.
Likewise, the CNMI defense was a mess as the Thais repeatedly attacked the goal and scored up close with nary a resistance from their opponents. Despite his heroic efforts, CNMI goalie John Joseph Bucayo was often reduced to helplessly watching the Thais break through the porous CNMI defense en route to easy goals.
In the second half, it was the same story.
Five minutes into the final half, Artkitkran scored again, followed by another goal in the 57th minute. Sandwiched between was a penalty kick from Keereerom that barreled in out of reach of Bucayo.
The score stood at 12-0 in favor of the Thais with 35 minutes to go before the final whistle.
In the 61st minute Mueanta scored from the right corner for a 13-0 lead. Another Thai attack from the right wing three minutes later, led by midfielder Kritsanapol Booncharee, was blunted by Bucayo, only for the ball to bounce away in the direction of Mueanta who easily scored up close.
The Thais scored two more goals before substitute midfielder Channarong Promsrikaew kicked home a nifty pass from Keereerom for a 17-0 Thai advantage in the 68th minute.
CNMI midfielder John Michael Rojas tried to lead a CNMI attack from the right wing, but he was stopped on his tracks by a swarm of Thai defenders.
Forward Thana Isor navigated through CNMI defenders for another goal in the 79th minute as the Thais widened their advantage to 20-0 with a little less than 15 minutes to play.
A defensive lapse by CNMI in the 80th minute allowed Muenta to score his fifth and Thailand’s 21st goal of the game.
Promsrikaew and Artkitkran did have two more chances to score in the final minutes, but their attempts at the goal were saved by Bucayo.
With the win, the Thais retained its top spot in the standings. The CNMI, meanwhile, suffered its third straight loss that essentially knocked it out of the tournament.
A group of Thai fans with a drum and other musical instruments entertained the crowd at the Olympic Stadium with their singing and chanting.
Malaysia and Brunei are still playing as of presstime.
Up next for the Thais is Cambodia on Friday. CNMI will also play Malaysia that same day.
There are 46 countries, divided into 11 groups, that are vying to qualify for the 2020 AFC U19 Championship that Uzbekistan will be hosting in October next year. Only the top finishers from each group and four runners-up will move on to the next round.