Thailand hung tough in a tight wire match against Malaysia in the HSBC Asian 5 Nations (HSBC A5N) Division II final today in Kuala Lumpur, winning 22-19. China was relegated to Division III for 2013 after a 52-3 loss to Iran in today's Division II 3rd/4th place play-off.
Despite having a man advantage for most of the second half after a Malaysian red card, the Thais were unable to close out the game against a gritty Malaysian team that pushed the visitors to the limit until the final whistle.
Today's HSBC A5N Division II final was a tight encounter throughout with neither team able to enjoy a comfortable lead. Malaysia was the first team on the scoreboard today with a penalty in the 5th minute from fullback Zulkifli Azmi.
Thailand replied in the 11th minute with a penalty from star fullback Walongkorn Khamkoet to level the scores. Four minutes later Khamkoet put Thailand further out at 6-3. Shortly thereafter, Malaysian winger Dinesvaran Krisnan was sin-binned, giving Khamkoet the opportunity to slot his third penalty as Thailand took a 9-3 lead.
The kicking battle continued as Zulkifli converted his second penalty attempt to edge Malaysia close at 9-6. A Thai sin-bin soon leveled the numbers on both sides, but it was Thailand that scored next through Khamkoet's fourth and final penalty of the half, taking the score to 12-6 at the break.
Unfortunately for Malaysia, flanker Kini Rasolosolo had a moment of insanity as he lost his cool and punched his opponent, earning a red card and leaving his side to play a man down for the entire second half. The sending off may well have lost Malaysia the match as the hosts at full strength would likely have been too much for the visitors to handle. - asian5nations.com