Four second-half goals, including a four-minute hat-trick by Kanjana Sungngoen, have helped Thailand down the Young Matildas 4-2 in the AFF Women’s Championship.
Such tight margins appeared to preempt the trajectory of the game, as a frustrating first half saw both sides cancel each other out. Thailand dropped deep in defence, seeking quick counter-attacks.
Three successive breaks to Thailand’s Sungngoen in the first half foreshadowed her blitz in the second, yet no one could have predicted what awaited.
As the second interval began, it was Silawan Intamee who broke the deadlock. Larissa Crummer’s stray pass for Taylor Ray was swiftly intercepted by Thailand’s midfield before a through ball to Intamee, put her one-on-one against Whyman.
What happened next was as unpredictable as it was clinical.
Thailand’s Duangnapa Sritala played a hopeful diagonal ball on the hour mark, which was misread by Australia’s left back, Karly Roestbakken. The ball bounced in front of Sungngoen who volleyed home.
Less than two minutes later, a botched clearance by Crummer fell to Thailand’s Rattikan Thongsombut, who played a first time ball over the top to Sungngoen. The pacey forward strode past Roestbakken and slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.
Sungneon would complete her hat-trick after Princess Ibini headed the ball backwards into the path of Intamee who put a through ball to Sungngoen.
Thailand’s blitz sucked the intensity out of the game, however there were two late goals to Alex Chidiac and Kyra Cooney-Cross.
Chidiac placed her penalty into the bottom right corner while 16-year-old Cooney-Cross latched onto a calamitous Nipawan Panyosuk back-pass to round the keeper and get her second goal of the tournament.
The result means Australia qualified second for the semi-finals, where they will face either Vietnam or Myanmar on July 11.