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By ESPN Staff

Thailand beat Malaysia to reach ASEAN semis

BANGKOK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Thailand reached the semi-finals of the Asean championship on Tuesday after finishing top of Group A with a 1-0 victory over Malaysia.

Malaysia also qualified after Myanmar's surprise goalless draw with the Philippines, who were hammered 4-0 in both their previous group matches.

Sarayuth Chaikamdee's second-half header was enough to book Thailand a place in the final four, where they will meet the runners up from Group B next week.

The hosts had the best of the chances with striker Kiatisak 'Zico' Senamuang a constant menace for the Malaysian back four.

Sarayuth squandered a clear cut chance just before halftime but made amends two minutes after the break when he rose above the Malaysian defence to head home Suree Sukha's cross from the right.

Thai coach Charnwit Pholcheewin said victory had not been easy because of the pressure on his team.

'We had to win the game. We cannot lose matches because we are the number one team in Asean,' Charnwit told a news conference.

'It's difficult facing this pressure every time we play.'

Group B will be decided on Wednesday when hosts Singapore take on Indonesia and Vietnam play strugglers Laos.