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AFF Championship

Dangda fires Thailand into Suzuki Cup semi-finals

8:58 PM GMT+8 14/12/2021
Thailand Philippines Teerasil Dangda
The prolific attacked netted twice to lead his side the way and become the tournament's all-time top scorer

Teerasil Dangda has become the all-time leading scorer at the AFF Suzuki Cup as his brace saw Thailand book a spot in the semi-finals with a 2-1 win against the Philippines, with the Azkals now eliminated.

Goals in either half from the star forward – his 18th and 19th at the tournament – were enough despite a late rally from the Philippines that saw Patrick Reichelt score just before the hour with Thailand coach Alexandre Polking once again paying tribute to the ageless Teerasil.

“I don’t know how often I can come here and praise him, he’s the best striker I’ve coached and the best striker I’ve seen and he just proved that again," Polking said.

“He creates chances, he came up with another world-class finish tonight and I hope he can keep going and score another five, six or seven goals so that we can reach and win the final.”

That latter point is, of course, the key one and Polking was relieved that his side has secured their spot in the last four with time to spare.

“I want to praise the starting players and the players that came in because this was a very important three points for us where we’ve now reached our minimum target of qualifying for the semi-finals and it gives us more time to train together.”

Thailand sit top of Group A with nine points from three encounters, with second-placed Singapore awaiting in their final group-stage game.

Philippines, meanwhile, remain third and no longer have a chance to reach the semi-finals