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Chananan scores four as Thailand start SEA Games title defence in style

Striker Chananan Pombubpha slotted in four goals as Thailand routed Laos 6-0 in their opening SEA Games Group B game on Friday. Photo credit: Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee / Action Images via Reuters

Southeast Asian (SEA) Games men's football champions Thailand opened their title defence with a faultless 6-0 rout of David Booth's Laos in Group B at the Bishan Stadium on Friday night.

It was total domination by the junior War Elephants for whom striker Chananan Pombubpha slotted in four goals.

It took all of ten minutes for the Thais to open the floodgates through right-back Narubadin Weerawatnodom. Peerpat Notechaiya's pinpoint corner found an unmarked Narubadin at the far post.

Nine minutes later, Thailand's superstar playmaker Chanathip Songkrasin played a beautiful reverse pass to release Pinyo Inpinit, who went on to find an onrushing Chananan for Thailand's second goal.

Laos almost pulled one back in the 35th minute when Lithideth Keoviengpheth's initial shot bobbled into the path of Soukaphone Vongchiengkham, whose shot was brilliantly palmed away by Chanin Sae-ear.

Just when the Laotians seemed to have found their rhythm, Peerapat found Nurul Sriyankem after an overlapping run in the 38th minute. Nurul's bullet went straight past a hapless Vathana Keodouangdeth.

The fans in the stadium had barely made their way back to their seats for the start of the second period when Peerapat claimed his third assist of the game. His corner found Muangthong United striker Chananan for his second and Thailand's fourth of the night.

Laos tried to find an opening and almost succeeded on 51 minutes when Soukaphone played in substitute Maitee Maitee who could only drill his shot wide.

Chananan netted his hat trick in the 61st minute from the spot, after Nurul was adjudged to have been brought down by Vongsa Thinnakone.

With 16 minutes to go, substitute right-back Tristan Do stormed down the flank and chipping in a delightful cross leaving Chananan with the simple task of cushioning his header into goal.

With six goals in the bag, Thailand continued to press forward through the industrious Chanathip and captain Sarach Yooyen. But the defending champions failed to increase an already impressive scoreline before Iranian referee Mooud Bonyadifard blew the final whistle to send the Thai fans into celebratory cheer.

Thailand will now shift their focus to Timor-Leste on Monday while Laos will be seeking to secure victory over fellow strugglers Brunei a day earlier.

Laos: Vathana Keodouangdeth (GK), Vongsa Thinnakone, Sihavong Khonesavanh , Soukaphone Vongchiengkham (Sittideth Khanthavong 78'), Phonsettha Thenthong (Sinnalone Sihalath 87'), Lithideth Keoviengpheth (Maitee Maitee 45'), Bounthavy Sipasong, Soukchinda Natphasouk, Phoutthasay Khochalern, Sengdao Inthilath, Tiny Bounmalay (C)

Thailand: Chanin Sae-ear (GK), Peerapat Notechaiya, Adison Promrak, Artit Daosawang, Narubadin Weerawatnodom (Tristan Do 62'), Sarach Yooyen (C), Thitiphan Puangjan, Chanathip Songkrasin, Nurul Sriyankem (Pakorn Parmpak 62'), Pinyo Inpinit (Rungrat Phumichantuk 68'), Chananan Pombubpha

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