Thailand were unable to match last year’s heroics against China as they were beaten 3-0 in Friday’s friendly at the Wuhan Sports Center Stadium.
Having claimed a stunning 5-1 triumph over the Chinese in Hefei last June, many believed it would not have been out of the question for the War Elephants to spring another surprise.
But things were always going to be much more difficult on this occasion after the departure of former coach Kiatisuk Senamuang following the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea, while their preparations were not helped by a host of injuries to players like Charyl Chappuis, Pokkhao Anan and Sompong Soleb.
Still, Thailand did well to keep their opponents at bay in the first half, although a blunder from goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool finally gifted the hosts the lead in the 62nd minute.
Appearing to be deceived by Wu Xi’s attempt to meet Zhang Chengdong’s right-wing cross with a header, the Chonburi custodian ended up flicking the harmless delivery over himself and into the back of his own net.
There was little he could do to prevent China from adding a second six minutes from time when Sun Ke reacted quickest after Liao Lisheng’s corner had been flicked on into his path, and smashed his shot home from six yards out.
And three minutes later, Team Dragon put the result beyond doubt after Yang Xu took advantage of a lapse in concentration by the Thailand defence to race through on goal, where he made no mistake in slotting past Sinthaweechai to make it 3-0.
Over at the Mongkok Stadium, Singapore were also defeated after falling to a 2-1 loss against Hong Kong.
It took the hosts just seven minutes to break the deadlock when Xu Deshuai pounced on an error by Safuwan Baharudin, before blasting his shot into the back of the net.
Seven minutes after the break, they made it 2-0 when Ju Yingzhi raced onto a brilliant through-ball by Xu and slotted into the unguarded net after rounding Izwan Mahbud.
The Lions did manage to pull one back deep into injury-time through a Shahril Ishak penalty, after Safuwan had been brought down inside the penalty area.
Nonetheless, it proved to be a mere consolation as Hong Kong held out for the win to continue their excellent run of form against Singapore in recent times.
Friday’s International Friendly Results
China 3-0 Thailand
Hong Kong 2-1 Singapore