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Thai hopes in AFC championship rest on Iraq game after defeat to Australia

Jan 12. 2020
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By The Nation

Thailand still have the chance to reach the knockout stage of the AFC Under-23 Championship despite losing to Australia 1-2 in their second Group A game at the Rajamangala National Stadium on Saturday.

Akira Nishino 

Akira Nishino’s side must now at least grab a draw against Iraq on Tuesday in the group’s final game to secure a place in the next round as the second-placed finisher. Australia, with four points, should be the favourites to top the group and reserve the other spot. They face Bahrain in their last game on Tuesday.

In Saturday’s game, that drew a record 22,352 spectators, Anon Amornlerdsak lifted the spirits of local fans with a goal in the 24th minute but Aussie Nicholas D'Agostino dashed Thai hopes with a brace. He got the equaliser in the 43rd minute and the winning goal in the 75th minute.

Nishino blamed his team’s physical condition for their defeat.

“Throughout the 90 minutes, we were second to them in terms of physical condition. It’s difficult for us to hang out there in great fitness after many contacts with Australia. But my team did quite well in the first half,” said the Japanese coach.

The Thailand-Iraq showdown is scheduled for 8.15pm on Tuesday at Rajamangala. Fans can watch live coverage on Channel 7.

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