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Teerasil Dangda's historic brace sends Thailand to Suzuki Cup playoffs, ousts Azkals too

Patrick Reichelt's equalizer for the Azkals went down the drain in the end. PFF
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--On the same night when Teerasil Dangda made history, the Philippine Azkals' hopes of making the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals have been dashed too.

Thailand's star striker did the dirty work on Tuesday night as he led the team to a 2-1 win that earned them a spot in the semifinals and also knocked out the Azkals from contention.

Dangda broke a tie with Singaporean legend Noh Alam Shah as the top goal scorer of the Suzuki Cup in the 26th minute after drilling the opening goal of the match off a cross from the left flank, his 18th overall.

However, Thailand, which has kept a clean sheet two matches in, let the Azkals sneak one goal in after Patrick Reichelt scored in the 57th minute off a corner kick.

The decider came in the 77th minute when Amani Aguinaldo was called for a foul inside the penalty area while trying to stop a Thai player who was just inches away from the goal, and a minute later, Dangda, despite Kevin Hansen correctly guessing the spot, drilled a powerful penalty into the net eventually for the win as the Azkals never got to threaten offensively down the stretch.

The Azkals, who lost to Singapore last week, badly needed a win to get an upper hand in the head-to-head tiebreaker should they end up in a three-way tie with Thailand.

But with the outcome, Thailand would now only need to beat Singapore on Saturday night to seal the top seed in Group A.

The Azkals, on the other hand, will finish their stint against Myanmar also on Saturday night.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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