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Tongkanya takes Thais past Oman

July 12, 2007 20:43 IST

Striker Pipat Tongkanya scored twice in eight minutes to lift hosts Thailand to a convincing 2-0 win over Oman and top spot in the Asian Cup Group 'A' on Thursday.

Pipat combined with fellow-substitute Teerathep Winothai in the 70th and 78th minutes to give the Thais a well-earned victory.

The goals came after 69 minutes of relentless Thai attacking, with the Omanis, who drew 1-1 with tournament favourites Australia on Sunday, rarely looking dangerous.

The victory was the Kingdom's first in the Asian Cup since they made their debut in 1972.

"This match has helped us regain our confidence, we have never won a game in the Asian Cup, I'm very proud to be the first coach to do that," coach Charnwit Polcheewin told a news conference.

"Pipat and Teerathep both did a good job, but whether or not they will start in the next game depends on the tactics, and I won't give those away."

Thailand had the best of the early action and came close on 19 minutes when Sutee Suksomkit's pass flashed across the face of the goal and fell short of the onrushing Kiatisak Senamuang.

The Thais wasted a golden opportunity to score right after halftime when Kiatisak squared the ball to the unmarked Tawan Sripan, who fired wide with men in space.

The crowd had their hearts in the mouths when Ahmad Halid's speculative free kick from near the halfway line went through to keeper Kosin Haithairrattanakool, who tipped the ball on to the crossbar.

Pipat and Teerathep made an instant impact after being sent on.

Within a minute Teerathep delivered a low cross from the right to the unmarked Pipat, who fired home from five metres.

Eight minutes later, the diminutive Teerathep headed Tawan's pass on to Pipat, who chested down and blasted the ball into the top corner.

The win put Thailand on four points, three ahead of Iraq and Australia who meet on Friday in the next Group A game.

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