As expected, Thailand head coach Mano Polking used his side’s international friendly last night to give opportunities to new players, who rewarded his faith in their 2-0 win over Nepal.
In the first of two international friendlies hosted by Thailand during the current international break, the War Elephants took on Nepal at the Chonburi Stadium.
After selecting his squad for the current international break, head coach Mano Polking commented that there were “probably a hundred players” who deserved to play for the War Elephants, and had to settle on just 27.
With one eye on the upcoming 2023 Asian Cup qualifiers in June, Mano’s lineup against Nepal fielded a number of in-form or up-and-coming players who weren’t involved with the side’s recent AFF Suzuki Cup triumph, including three debutants in the starting lineup.
Ratchaburi goalkeeper Kampon Pathom-attakul and Police Tero central defender Chalermsak Aukkee both made their first appearances for Thailand’s senior team, along with BG’s Chaowat Veerachat in central midfield. Buriram’s Pansa Hemviboon returned to the fold after dropping out of Thailand’s AFF squad, while Port left-back Kevin Deeromram made his first appearance for Thailand since 2017, having been sidelined due to numerous injuries. As a result, Tristan Do of Bangkok United was the only member of Thailand’s backline who was involved in the recent tournament.
The midfield was also heavily rotated, though retained Mano’s now-renowned diamond shape for the first half. Chaowat lined up alongside Port FC’s Tanaboon Kesarat, who also missed out on the AFF Cup, and Picha Autra, who made just a single substitute appearance against Singapore. The front three of Worachit, Adisak and Pathompol were considerably more involved in Thailand’s recent triumph, but still had plenty to prove given the competition in those positions.
Thailand’s fourth debutant of the night was substitute Wisarut Imura, who earned his call-up after being one of Bangkok United’s standout performers of the season. He was one of six players brought on by Mano, which included Samut Prakan City goalkeeper Patiwat Khammai, who making his second appearance for the War Elephants.
Thailand dominated possession in the first half but struggled to break down a well-organised and disciplined Nepal side. It took until the 78th minute for the hosts to break the deadlock, courtesy of substitute Philip Roller, who was deployed as a right winger. Man-of-the match Chaowat then put the game beyond doubt on his Thailand debut, scoring the second in the final minute of normal time.
The War Elephants will now take on Suriname on Sunday at the BG Stadium in Pathum Thani.