Thailand kicked-off their joint qualifiers of 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup campaign in successful style as Pokklaw’s strike handed them a 1-0 win over Vietnam at the Rajamangala National Stadium.
VIDEO: Thailand 1-0 Vietnam
Kiatisuk Senamuang’s team controlled much of the match after a slow start and were guilty of missing a string of chances to break the deadlock in the first half.
The attacking combination of Chanathip Songkrasin and Kroekrit Thawikan did most of the damage for the home team, but the duo were left thwarted in opening 45 minutes.
Vietnam made one change at half time, with Dinh Tien Thanh replacing Nguyen Huy Cuong in defence, which brought a number of challenges for the Thais midfielders.
The hosts had been given the numerical advantage following the dismissal of Nguyen Minh Chau at the 70th minute after a crude block on Chanathip.
Pokklaw Anan, who came in as a replacement for Wichaya Dechmitr, finally broke The War Elephants’ deadlock at the 81th minute after the Police United midfielder fired a low left-footed strike from 20 yards.
In Group F, Thailand will play their second fixture away to Chinese Taipei on June 11, while Vietnam are scheduled to host Indonesia on September 3.