The reigning AFF Cup champion Thailand lost two goals in a row for the second time in a row, losing to the UAE 0-2 in a friendly match on the evening of March 28.
Thailand scored 18 times in the match, twice as many as the host, but could not score. However, the danger leaned more towards the UAE and they also took advantage of the opportunity to score twice in the second half. This is Thailand’s second consecutive defeat, after they lost 1-3 to Syria on the evening of March 25.
UAE is standing at 70th FIFA position, 41 places higher than Thailand. The difference between the two teams was not obvious in the first half, when the home team kept the ball more but the away team created more chances. The most remarkable situation in this half was the right-back Nicholas Mickelson’s long shot narrowly off the UAE goal.
Like the match against Syria, Thailand conceded a goal from a defensive weakness. Both of their goals at Al Nahyan Stadium came from the ball. 55 minutes, midfielder. Tahnoon Al Zaabi crossed from the left to the second column for striker Harib Abdalla to open the scoring without being close.
After this table, the UAE lowered the formation to play defense and counterattack. Thailand started to hold the ball more, but pillars like Theerathon Bunmathan or Chanathip Songkrasin could not create mutations against strong opponents. The visitors had a good chance to equalize with centre-back Kritsada Kaman’s free kick going through the fence, but it was pushed away by goalkeeper Khalid Eisa.
The opportunity to surprise Mano Polking’s teachers and students disappeared in the 79th minute, when the UAE scored from a fixed situation. In the left-hand free kick, midfielder Abdalla Ramadan hung the ball on the second column for Abdul Sallam Mohammed to easily cushion the ball to hit the roof of the Thai net. None of the visitors’ players stood near Mohammed in this situation.
Mohammed put the ball inside the goal shirt, and took a picture with his teammates. Midfielder Chanathip stood by impatiently, demanding the UAE player return the ball but he was pushed out. The two sides almost clashed but the referee intervened.
Thailand also nearly conceded a third goal four minutes later, from the UAE counter-attack. Striker Abdalla cut his heart from the edge of the penalty area to the far corner but goalkeeper Kampon Phatomakkakul flew out of reach to push the ball out to receive a corner. The host also had a few more similar counter-attacking opportunities but could not take advantage.
After two consecutive defeats, Thailand is likely to drop at least one place to the 112th position in the world. In 2023, they also have a friendly with two European representatives in October, Georgia and Estonia.