Thailand beat Japan 37-33 in a thrilling contest to seal their semi-final berth as they topped Group A. The crowd at TransStadia Arena was enthralled by a super performance by both teams but it was Thailand who held their nerve to edge out Japan. Thailand captain Khomsan Thongkham scored 10 points to lead his team to a thrilling win.
Thailand will now play India in the semi-final whereas the Republic of Korea will take on Iran in the second semi-final. Japan fought valiantly till the end but Thailand won points at crucial moments to win a tense encounter. Japan finished fourth with 12 points from five games whereas Thailand topped Group B with 20 points from five games.
Both teams started well with tackle and raid points as the score was level at 2-2 after three minutes. Japan’s defence did a fine job on Thailand star raider Khomsan Thongkham as they sent him to the bench twice as they led 5-2 after five minutes. Khomsan scored his first point of the match in the seventh minute as Thailand levelled the game at 5-5.
It was an extremely close contest as both teams exchanged points and it was 7-7 in the 12th minute. Thailand forced a super tackle in the 13th minute to led 10-9. Japan’s defence scored two quick points in two minutes as they tied the game at 12-12 after 15 minutes. With Thailand just reduced to a man. Peeradach Jajantam came up with an unbelievable super tackle to give his team 14-13 lead.
Japan inflicted the first all out of the match in the 19th minute to lead 17-14. Khomsan Thongkham responded with a two-point raid to bring Thailand within touching distance as they trailed 16-17 in the 20th minute. It was all-square at the end of the half as both teams were level at 17-17.
Japan scored a tackle point in the 22nd minute to hold a slender one-point lead. Japan led 20-17 after 24 minutes as their defence held strong against the Thai raiders. Thailand’s Santi Bunchoet scored with a super raid in the 27th minute, as it was all level at 21-21. Japan forced a super tackle by Kazuhiro Takano in the same minute to lead 23-21. Japan forced two more super tackles in two minutes to open a six-point gap and led 28-22 after 30 minutes.
Japan’s defence was in brilliant form as they scored 16 points in 32 minutes as they led 30-24. Thailand mounted a comeback and scored five points in two minutes and forced an all out in the 35th minute to level the match at 32-32. Thailand took a two-point lead in the 38th minute to lead 34-32 Khomsan Thongkham scored with a two-point raid in the 40th minute to wrap the match as Thailand beat Japan 37-33.