Ukraine spoil hosts’ party
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A barrage of first half goals from Ukraine saw them ease to a 5-3 victory over Thailand in the Group A encounter at the Huamark Indoor Stadium.

Played against a backdrop of a partisan atmosphere and extremely noisy crowd, it was the Europeans who kept their cool. However, it was the Thais who started the better of the two teams with Dmytro Lytvynenko forced into fine saves from Kritsada Wongkaeo and Jirawat Sornwichian as early as the first minute.

However, a spell of five goals in 16 minutes ultimately ended the game as a contest. The first came in the fourth minute when Thailand keeper Surapong Tompa failed to claim an easy ball and his spill was turned home by Denys Ovsiannikov.

Three minutes later, a Ukraine counterattack was ended with Sergiy Cheporniuk firing home clinically. Levegen Rogachov ran almost the entire length of the pitch before scoring Ukraine’s third, leaving Thailand hoping to get to half-time still in with a chance.

However, two goals in the final minute of the first half put paid to any real hopes of a comeback. Maksym Pavlenko combined well with Rogachov before the latter tapped the ball home, before Pavlenko got on the scoresheet himself with six seconds of the period remaining.

The hosts ‘won’ the second half, by scoring three unanswered goals, but in truth Ukraine had taken their foot off the gas.

The majority of the crowd finally had something to cheer four minutes after the break when Kritsada Wongkaeo’s free-kick was rifled home. Suphawut Thueanklang scored from 10 metres and Sornwichian provided arguably the best finish of the match for Thailand’s fifth in the final minute.

The quotes
“I told my players that Ukraine are a very patient team and that we had to take the same approach, but I know it was too much to ask of them. Their first goal came from a mistake and when they kept scoring, I thought the worst. At half-time, I asked them to try to score the first goal, and we managed to do that. In the end, we ran out of time and were a bit unlucky," Victor Hermans, Thailand coach.

“We expected a tough match, but we played a great first half, topping our best performances. In the second half Thailand improved, but we lost our concentration and made some mistakes," Gennadiy Lisenchuk, Ukraine coach.