SINGAPORE - Teerasil Dangda scored a brace to help Thailand to a 4-0 victory over Myanmar in the Suzuki Cup on Saturday (Dec 11) and equal Singaporean Noh Alam Shah's record tally of 17 goals in the Asean Football Federation Championship.
On his tournament debut at the age of 20 in 2008, Teerasil had finished as one of the three top scorers with four goals.
Now at 33, he continues to make an impact in front of goal.
While the War Elephants had started their campaign with a routine 2-0 win over Timor-Leste last Sunday, they had been far from convincing.
But before 1,142 spectators at the National Stadium, the five-time champions looked closer to their former selves against Myanmar.
The improved display was largely down to a stronger supporting cast around Teerasil with Thailand coach Mano Polking handing Japan-based duo Chanathip Songkrasin and Theerathon Bunmathan, Leicester City midfielder Thanawat Suengchitthawon and forward Supachai Chaided their first starts of the tournament.
With the game's opener in the 23rd minute, Teerasil, who in 2014 became the first Thai player to make an appearance in Spain's La Liga, showed why he is one of the most lethal finishers in the region.
Receiving a ball driven by right-back Narubadin Weerawatnodom, the forward controlled it expertly outside the box before slamming the ball hard into the bottom-left corner of the net.
In the 53rd minute, Teerasil and Thailand's second goal arrived from the penalty spot after Manuel Tom Bihr was adjudged to have been fouled in the box.
Substitute Worachit Kanitsribumphen added a third in the 78th minute with a strike from inside the box. Supachok Sarachat then clinched a fourth in added time.
With the victory, Thailand go top of Group A with six points. They are level on points with Singapore but have a better goal difference than the hosts.
The next test for the Thailand is their Tuesday match-up with the Philippines, who are third and three points behind the top two.