BANGKOK (22 Dec 2012) – Singapore won a record-breaking fourth AFF Suzuki Cup title despite dropping a goal to Thailand in the second leg final at the Supachalasai Stadium here tonight. The Lions, winners in 1998, 2004 and 2006, bagged the prestigious regional crown with a well-deserved 3-2 aggregate victory.
Tonight’s win, worth USD200,000, ensured Singapore maintained their unblemished record of winning every final they had qualified for. It was also outgoing coach Raddy Avramovic’s third AFF title since 2004, making him the most successful coach in the history of the tournament.
Although Singapore did not find the net today, the third goal skipper Baihakki Khaizan scored in the first leg turned out to be the winner for the Lions.
For Thailand, their ten-year wait to lift the trophy was ruined when they only managed one goal through Kirati Keawsombut in the 45th minute. Tried as they did, strikers Teerasil Dangda, the tournament’s top scorer, Jakkapan Pornsai, Phitchiphong Choeichiu and later substitute Chanathip Songkrasin were unable to get their shots in. Their failure to score more goals saw Thailand settle for a fourth silver medal tonight instead of a fourth title.
Despite playing in front of over 15,000 success-starved fans, Thailand were unable to overturn their first leg 3-1 loss. Since the introduction of the home-and-away format, no team has recovered from a first leg defeat to win the title.
Tonight, just before the kick-off, Sultan Ahmad Shah, the AFF President, Datuk Worawi Makudi, the FA of Thailand President, and other AFF officials met the plaers on pitch side. Soon after the pleasantries were over, the game kicked-off with fury as the Thais stormed into attack.
Within minutes, Thailand were knocking on their opponents door when Phichitphong Choeichiu’s cracker from the top swerved right. Thailand had two consecutive corners and during the second, Jakkapan Pornsai’s header came off the crossbar.
The Thais intensified their attacks, and in his haste to stop Phitchipong, Singapore’s Mustafic Fahruddin brought down the Thais outside the box. This time, Datsakorn was off the mark and the 15,000 fans were dismayed. Just two minutes later, in the 19th minute, Phichitphong crashed his shot wide.
The Thais did not let up and continued attacking with the same intensity, and it was evident the hosts were on the verge of scoring. Three minutes from the break, Chonlatit could have scored but he was unable to keep his header under control. Any hopes of Thailand scoring before the break appeared all but over. But deep in extratime, Kirati Keawsombut rose high and headed in corner kick from Datsakorn.
It was Thailand again after the break. They threw everything they had the Singaporeans but nothing seem to work. Teerasil, Jakkapan, Adul and Phitchipong worked tirelessly to try and get their shots in. During an odd Singapore attack in the 56th minute, Alexander Duric miised a fine opportunity to settle matters
Kirati could have turned hero in the 66th minute when all he needed to do was connect a cross from the left. But Kirati was a micro-second too slow to the ball and missed his chance at glory.
THAILAND (Red/Red/Red): Kawin Thamsatchanan (GK), Panupong Wongsa (Cpt), Theerathon Bunmathan, Chonlatit Jantakam, Datsakorn Thonglao (Pibob On-Mo 69th), Kirati Keawsombut (Apipoo Suntornpanavej 76th), Teerasil Dangda, Adul Lahsoh, Jakkapan Pornsai (Chanathip Songkrasin 72nd), Phichitphong Choeichiu, Piyaphon Buntao
Head coach: Winfried Anton Schaefer
Scorer(s): Kirati Keawsombut (45th)
Yellow: Kirati (47th), Phichitphong (62nd), Adul (81st)
SINGAPORE (Blue/Blue/Blue): Mohammad Izwan Mahmud (GK), Mohamad Shaiful Esah Nain, Mohammad Isa Abdul Halim, Baihakki Khaizan, Shahdan Sulaiman (Fazrul Nawaz 74th), Aleksandar Duric, Mustafic Fahruddin, Daniel Bennett, Mohammad Shahril Ishak (cpt), Mohammad Khairul Amri, Muhammad Safuwan Baharudin
Head coach: Radojko Avramovic
Yellow: Mustafic (57th), Mohammad Isa (86th), Daniel (89th)
Referee: Irmatov Ravshan (Uzb)
Assistant referee 1: Rasulov Abdukhamidullo (Uzb)
Assistant referee 2: Saidov Jakhongir (Uzb)
Fourth official: Tseytlin Vladislav (Uzb)
Match Commissioner: Dr Tran Quoc Tuan (Vie)
Referee Assessor: Thongpaseuth Phonesirignavong (Lao)
General Coordinator: Tin Aung (Myn)