Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Krung fends off Persebaya at home

ID Nugroho, The Jakarta Post, Surabaya

Krung Thai Bank jumped out to an early lead and held off the concerted fightback of Persebaya Surabaya to win 2-1 in an Asian Champions League game in Surabaya on Wednesday.

All three goals in the contest were scored by the Thais -- two from Sarun Promkeaw, and one own goal from Amnart Kaewkaew.

Despite ending up the losers, the home team -- with the vociferous support of thousands of fans crammed into the 10 November Stadium -- played well from the outset.

Rahel Tuasalamony narrowly missed a chance to score when he shot hit the goalpost. With Persebaya on the attack, its defense became lax, allowing Sarun to score with a deft shot past Chinese goalkeeper Cheng Zeng in the 20th minute.

Persebaya captain Bejo Sugiantoro tried to rally his team, but it was unable to score in the first half.

In the second, Persebaya came out fighting but to no avail. Brazilian coach Jackson F. Tiago sent on substitutes Taufiq and Choirul Anam to replace veterans Uston Nawawi and Slamet Nurcahyo as the attacks intensified.

The Thai team's second goal was almost a carbon copy of the first, with the players stealing the ball off a Persebaya offense for Sarun to score again in the 51st minute.

Persebaya was finally rewarded for its efforts when a shot from Edu Juanda deflected off the leg of Amnart for a goal.

Jackson said he was pleased with his team, especially in their never-say-die attitude even when trailing 0-2.

"It turns out that the young players are particularly outstanding," he said.

Krung Thai Bank coach Narong Suwannachot said his team was boosted by the experience of beating PSM Makassar 3-2 in the Asian Champions League last year in the South Sulawesi capital.

"We learned a lot from that game against PSM Makassar, and we tried to implement it here and it worked," he said.

Persebaya next plays Bin Ginh of Vietnam on March 16.