Respite for Malaysians, Thais sustain unbeaten run

Thai players celebrate a goal during the Fifa World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Vietnam and Thailand.
Thai players celebrate a goal during the Fifa World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Vietnam and Thailand.PHOTO: EPA

The beleaguered Malaysian national football team enjoyed a reprieve when it beat Timor Leste 1-0 in the World Cup qualifiers yesterday.

Johor Darul Takzim forward Amri Yahya secured the first win for the Tigers in a dismal campaign with a 10th-minute strike in Dili.

But they still languish fourth in the five-team Group A with just four points from five games. The dismal run includes a 6-0 rout by Palestine and a national-record 10-0 defeat by the United Arab Emirates, a result that prompted the resignation of coach Dollah Salleh. Former Under-23 tactician Ong Kim Swee will fill in until the end of this year.

In Group F, Asean powerhouses Thailand continued their unbeaten run with a 3-0 win over Vietnam in Hanoi.

Coach Kiatisuk Senamaung's men stormed to the convincing result through strikes from wingers Kroekrit Thaweekarn and Theerathon Bunmathan and an own goal from defender Tien Thanh Dinh.

The Thai War Elephants currently lead Group F with 10 points from three wins and a draw.

Myanmar, coached by former Singapore tactician Raddy Avramovic, picked up their first win in Group G, beating cellar dwellers Laos 3-1.

However, they are still struggling in fourth place in the five-team group with four points, eight behind South Korea and five behind another former employers Kuwait.

In other qualifiers, Bhutan suffered a 1-0 home defeat by Hong Kong in Group C while, in Group H, North Korea beat Yemen 1-0 in Pyongyang.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'Respite for Malaysians, Thais sustain unbeaten run'. Print Edition | Subscribe