Article

Thailand, Indonesia advance to Tiger Cup final

27 December 2002 15:00

JAKARTA, Dec 27 (AFP) - Defending champions Thailand trounced Vietnam 4-0 to set up a Tiger Cup final match with hosts Indonesia, who defeated favorites Malaysia 1-0 in the other semifinal Friday.

Thailand had little trouble brushing aside Vietnam despite their unimpressive performances in the qualifying stage, including a 3-1 defeat to Malaysia.

Worawoot Srimaka scored the opener 25 minutes into the first-half, firing home from 12 yards after latching on to Therdsak Chaiman's cross from the right. Srimaka scored three goals in the victory over Indonesia in the Tiger Cup 2000 final in Bangkok.

Midfielder Narongchai Vachiraban scored a second in the 38th minute, and second-half strikes by substitutes Sakda Joemdee in the 75th minute and Sakda Joemdee in injury time sealed an emphatic victory, even though the Thais squandered several good chances.

"I told the players that we had to play to our potential to win this match and they responded. It was a satisfying performance," said Thailand's English coach Peter Withe.

"We have been getting better as we go along. We are the defending champions of the Tiger Cup and we need to show that we are deserved of this title."

"All my players delivered today and it was even more satisfying because out there today was the future of Thailand," said a beaming Withe.

Vietnam's heavy defeat came as a surprise as they had displayed some of the most entertaining football in the group stages of the competition, hammering minnows Cambodia 9-2 and dark horses Myanmar 4-2.

Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto said his side's defense had made some major errors.

"When you play against big teams, that is what happens. But it is OK. This is a process to learn," Calisto said.

"We tried to get back into the game after the break but when we missed chances and Thailand scored their third, it was game over for us."

In the other semifinal, Indonesia caused an upset as they defeated a more elegant Malaysian side with 1-0 thanks to a spectacular header by striker Bambang Pamungkas in the 75th minute.

Pamungkas headed home a cross from Zaenal Arif, to the delight of the 50,000-strong home crowd who had packed into Jakarta's Bung Karno stadium.

Malaysia were impressive throughout the match with their organized and sharp attacks but failed to turn at least four good chances into goals.

Thailand will face Indonesia on Sunday.

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