India beat Thailand 1-0 in their King’s Cup clash on Saturday to secure a third-place finish in the friendly tournament. Anirudh Thapa’s strike in the 17th minute was the difference between the two sides as Indian coach Igor Stimac fielded a playing XI radically different from the one that lost 3-1 to Curacao in their previous game. Stimac made eight changes to the team with the likes of captain Sunil Chhetri and first choice goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu all warming the bench.
Thailand dominated possession for much of the game and most of the chances that India got were confined to the early exchanges of the first half. However, the away side made the most of it with Thapa running in behind a sleeping Thai defence to get at the end of a low cross from Adil Khan and scoring what turned out to be the winning goal. Thailand found the back of the net almost immediately after falling behind, but the goal was ruled out for off-side.
The trend continued with Thailand hogging the ball but the home side wasted their chances. Center-backs Adil and Sandesh Jhingan and goalkeeper Amrinder Singh hence played crucial rules in keeping out the Thai attackers. Goalscorer Thapa also made a couple of goal-line clearances to ensure that the team maintained a clean sheet.
This is the second successive win that India have recorded over Thailand, with the previous one being a stunning 4-1 victory in the group stage of the 2019 Asian Cup.
(With Agency Inputs)