The United Arab Emirates wouldn’t allow an early deficit to effect them later on, defeating Thailand by a score of 5-2 in their first game of the 2015 Challenge Cup of Asia.

Despite the Emirates coming in as the clear favourites, Thailand somehow managed to grab the 2-0 lead in the first period. At 8:25 in the first, Kittiphat Ongvisagepaiboon ripped a shot from the point, giving his Thai team the 1-0 lead to start the contest. The Emirates were hoping that the goal was only a product of having the extra man, but a goal by Thailand’s best forward Panithi Nawasmittawong just four minutes later really put the heat on the favourites to win the contest.

UAE was lucky enough to get one before the end of the first. With two minutes remaining, Juma Al Dhaheri fired one home after taking a pass from Saeed Al Nuaimi to end Prawes Kaewjeen’s shutout bid early. Kaewjeen was recognized as Thailand’s best player at the end of the contest, making 45 saves against a much stronger Emirates roster.

The Emirates were able to get the tie going in the second period, but it was their third period effort that really stood out. Led by Al Nuaimi, who scored two goals, the team managed to take the 5-2 lead with seven minutes to go, putting the game away thanks to the three goal advantage. As close as it may have been for UAE, they were only able to take down Thailand 5-4 last year, proving that these two teams are solid Asian rivals in a championship that doesn’t include many.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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