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Sarawut strikes late as Thailand knocks Philippines out of their home Suzuki Cup

Getting pushed aside by Jeffrey Christiaens, Thailand's Sarawut Masuk had the last laugh on him, with an 81st minute winner knocked the hosts out of the AFF Suzuki Cup.
By Kevin Estrada

BOCAUE -- Reigning Champions Thailand showed why it's them, not the Philippines that should be Southeast Asia's number one side, knocking the co-hosts out of their home AFF Championship by squeaking out a 1-0 nailbiter here at the Philippine Sports Stadium

Bangkok Glass' Sarawut Masuk's 81st minute winner off a Prakit Deeprom feed from counterattack was the lone difference in a pretty even affair as the result, coupled with Indonesia's 2-1 win over Singapore in Manila, knocked the Azkals out of semifinal contention for the first time since 2007.

Kiatisuk Senamuang's Thailand who even fielded their second stringers, resting Chanatip Songkrasin, skipper Teerasil Dangda and regular keeper Kawin Thamsatchanan, will now enter the knockout stage for the third consecutive time unscathed by attaining maximum points in all three matches, as the War Elephants will wait for either Vietnam, Malaysia or co-hosts Myanmar for their semifinal opponent.

Oh, the Agony. Stephan Schrock and Hikaru Minegishi rue a random Philippines chance as the hosts' dream Suzuki Cup ended in an utter nightmare.
Thomas' Dooley's full-strength Azkals dominated the possession and shot counts, but could not find their target past Sinthaweetchai Hathairattanakool and even have to contend on the dangerous counters by the visitors that gave Marco Casambre and Amani Aguinaldo fits.

The end came for the Azkals with nine minutes to go, as Prakit caught Kevin Ingreso onside on his through-ball that was well received by the Bangkok Glass man, who made no mistake on pouncing it past Roland Muller for his second goal of the tournament.

Mike Ott, Misagh Bahadoran and Stephan Schrock each came close for the entire match, but could not find past the veteran netminder and the back of the net, to cap off a dream Suzuki Cup for the first time hosts that ended in a nightmare for the side who ranked 117th in the World.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada