Thailand defeated 10-man Vietnam 1-0 in the opener of the 2018 World Cup second qualification round of Group F in Bangkok on May 24.

The match between two arch-rivals in Southeast Asia lured Thai and Vietnamese fans to the 50,000-seat Rajamangala Stadium.

Vietnam, despite a remarkable improvement recently under Japanese coach Toshyia Miura, were overshadowed by the host side, led by former national striker Kiatisuk Senamuang.

Thailand were better in both attack and defence and locked Vietnam's strikers out of the game while launching consecutive attempts.

In the 73rd minute, Vietnam's Nguyen Minh Chau received a second yellow card and was sent off.

His departure left a big hole in the midfield, and substitute Pokklaw Anan finished coolly after a pass from Teerasil in the 81st minute.

The midfielder picked up the ball outside of the Vietnam penalty area, feinted to hit with his right before unleashing a left foot drive into the far corner.

Vietnam had their own chances but it was difficult to break through Thai defence.

Hopes are high in Thailand that their young team can top the group – also featuring Indonesia, Iraq and Chinese Taipei – and qualify for the 2019 Asian Cup and the next round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

The second match of the group will be between Indonesia and Chinese Taipei on June 11.

Vietnam will meet Thailand in their second leg match in October in Hanoi.-VNA