Thailand refused to be cowed by Australia yesterday, showing remarkable resiliency and rallied for a well-earned 2-2 draw in Group A action of the AFF Women’s Championship at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.
Down 1-2 at the break, the never-say-die Thais levelled the count in the 60th minute through Ploychomphoo Somnuek, who struck with a nifty 20-yard volley that hit the top right corner of the net beyond Aussie goalie Jada Mathyssen-Whyman’s reach.
Kanyanat Chetthabutr had earlier kept the four-time AFF Women’s football champions in the thick of the fight by scoring their first goal from near the midcourt line in the 40th minute, hitting the ball just hard enough past Mathyssen-Wyman, who strayed too far out of the net.
Following their 4-0 rout of Indonesia last Monday, the charges of Japanese coach Miyo Okamoto had four points and the provisional lead in Group A pending the outcome of the Philippine-Singapore match later in the night.
The Matildas, who dropped a 0-1 decision to the Filipinas two days ago, had only one point to show in two matches.
They had earlier gone in full attack mode early on, netting goals from strikers Amy Sayer in the 18th minute and Mackenzie Hawkesby, who converted a penalty kick eight minutes later.
“We just kept our composure even when we were behind by one goal in the first half. We created our chances in the second half because my players are strong mentally,” said Okamoto through an interpreter at the post-match conference.
“There was a miscommunication between the defense and our goalie. But that’s football. We’re still in it,” said Matilda coach Melissa Andreatta in an upbeat voice despite the somewhat disappointing result of the match.
The last time the two sides met in the group stage of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India last February, Australia narrowly won over Thailand 2-1.