Bryan Robson had warned the Thai players against complacency and over-confidence for the return match. To Robson's credit, he sought to re-focus the player's minds and energy on the match at hand. In the end, his worst fears came to pass as Thailand were shocked by Singapore through a first half Duric header. This report can also be found in the AFC website as well.
BANGKOK – Singapore reignited their 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification hopes as Aleksandar Duric's first-half header secured a 1-0 victory over Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium on Wednesday.Reports suggested that Thailand looked the better side with more cohesiveness in their play. In the end, Bryan Robson suffers mixed results in his efforts of guiding Thailand into the AFC Asian Cup 2011. One win and one defeat means it's still early days. I still think he has the quality and capability to take Thailand to greater heights.
The hosts dominated much of the game but were unable to convert a number of chances as Duric's 38th minute header settled the Group E encounter and avenged the 3-1 home defeat to the same opponents on Saturday.
The much-needed three points moved Singapore into second place in the group a point clear of Thailand and a point behind leaders Iran, who face Jordan on Saturday.
Singapore came close to taking a fifth minute lead when Fahrudin Mustafic rode several challenges and let fly from 25 yards but Kittisak Rawangpa brilliantly clawed the ball out of the top corner.
Thailand began to exert their authority but the visitors threatened again in the 24th minute when Khairul Amri's back-heel allowed Duric an opening but his effort was deflected wide.
Three minutes later, a loose pass was pounced on by Pipat Thonkanya and the forward turned quickly before bearing down on goal but he eventually fired straight at goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, who held a low volley from the same player shortly afterwards.
Khairul saw a fierce shot deflected behind by Nataporn Phanrit 10 minutes before the break but Singapore broke the deadlock soon after when Duric – standing unmarked in front of the goalkeeper – deftly nodded in Mohamad Shaiful's corner from the left almost on the goal line.
Pipat had great chance to level on the stroke of half-time when Thailand won the ball in midfield and Datsakorn Thongalao played the forward in down the left but he side-footed just beyond the far post.
Thailand began the second half in desperate search of an equaliser but it was Singapore who almost doubled their lead in the 67th minute when Khairul broke but saw his effort roll wide.
Sutee Suksomkit hit a disappointing free-kick into the wall and his follow-up was held by Sunny before Teerasil Dangda met Sutee's excellent cross from the left with a powerful header that flashed narrowly wide.
Pipat missed another excellent opportunity with just under quarter of an hour remaining when another Sutee centre found its way through to the back post but the unmarked forward lashed into the side netting from eight yards.
Duric's side-footed volley flew just the wrong side of the post after the striker got in front of his marker and Hassan held Suchao Nutunum's shot before substitute Peter Laeng saw a powerful drive drift past the upright as Singapore held on.
The jury though, is still out on his capability as an international-class coach. Thailand now lie third in the table behind Singapore and Iran. They will need to win all their remaining matches and hope Singapore slips up if they are to qualify for Qatar 2011.