BANGKOK, Oct 8 (Reuters) Thailand began their 2010 World Cup qualification campaign with a stylish 6-1 thumping of lowly Macau today.
Vietnam, however, did not enjoy the same fortune and were beaten 1-0 by the United Arab Emirates.
Out of favour striker Surayuth Chaikamdee, who was dropped from the Thais' Asian Cup squad, scored a goal in each half of the first round match to finish off their hapless 188th-ranked opponents.
Vietnam, who beat UAE to reach the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup in July, fell behind in the 79th minute when Basheer Al Hammadi broke the deadlock in the ill-tempered first leg match.
Tajikistan boosted their chances of reaching the second round after earning a 1-1 draw away to Bangladesh.
In front of a crowd of only 700 people in the cricket-obsessed country, Bangladesh went ahead five minutes after the break through Zumratul Mithu.
But that lead was short-lived as striker Numondzhon Khakimov converted a spot kick to level the scoreline.
The Thais, Southeast Asia's most successful team, took the lead after eight minutes when Surayuth latched on to a neat through ball from Teerasil Dangda and ran 40 metre before rounding the keeper.
Teerasil made it two on 20 minutes when he headed home a perfectly-floated cross from captain Tawan Sripan.
SURPRISE GOAL Macao grabbed a surprise goal two minutes later when Kin Seng Chan pounced on a loose ball after keeper Kosin Hathairattanakul fumbled a low cross.
Surayuth scored his second just after the break before Teerathep Winothai converted a penalty to make it 4-1.
Nirut Suraisang added a fifth with an 82nd-minute bullet header before playmaker Datsakorn Thonglao completed the rout in stoppage with an inch-perfect diving header.
''I'm satisfied, but this is only the first round,'' Thai coach Charnwit Polcheewin told reporters.
''The teams will be much stronger than this in later rounds so we have to play at a much higher level.'' Macau's Japanese coach Kageyama Masanaga said his team will try to stem the tide of goals and keep the score down in today's return leg.
''It's a reasonable result for us but six goals is enough, we really didn't want to concede any more,'' said Masanaga, whose team let in seven goals in both of their last two home matches.
Forty-three Asian countries are vying for four places in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
An additional berth in the 32-team finals is up for grabs for the fifth-placed Asian team if they can beat the winner of Oceania's qualifiers in a playoff.
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