KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 (Bernama) - Thailand beat Philippines 2-1 in the opening Group A match of AFF Suzuki Cup Football Championship at Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday night.
The Thais had to wait until the 38th minute to open scoring when striker Jakkapan Pornsai fired a stiff shot after collecting a pass from one of his teammates.
Thailand doubled the score two minutes later when Anucha Kitpongsri deceived two defenders before releasing a strong shot with the left foot to beat Philippines goalkeeper Eduard Ortalla Sacapano.
The Philippines managed to reduce the deficit when Paul Mulders scored in the 76th minute.
Their German coach Hans Michael Wiess was ordered to leave the reserve players bench by the referee in the 81st minute after he threw the ball at an injured Thai player.
The victory enabled Thailand, champions in 1996, 2000 and 2002 to lead Group A closely followed by Myanmar, Vietnam and Philippines.
Earlier, Vietnam and Myanmar drew 1-1 in the other Group A match held at the same stadium.
After this, Thailand will meet Myanmar while Vietnam will play Philippines on November 27.
Both matches will be held in the same stadium.