BANGKOK (13 Dec 2012) – Thailand dumped defending champions Malaysia 2-0 in the second-leg, semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 to book their first final in four years.
The red card on Malaysian centreback Mohd Fadhli Shas turned the game to Thailand’s favour as the three-time champions found the back of the net in the 60th minute through Teerasil Dangda and then Theerathon Bunmathan in the 65th minute.
“The field was not good to play football. How can you play football when the ball bounced around like billiards?” said Winfried Schaefer, the chief coach of Thailand after the match. ”But we were the better side and even if they had 11 men, I think that we could have beaten them.”
With the several injuries to the squad, there was little choice for Malaysia but still use Norshahrul Idlan Talaha as the lone striker upfront with Safiq Rahim, Amar Rohidan and Baddrol Bakhtiar coming in from the centre of the park.
Needing to win for a chance to make their second final in two editions, captain Safiq tested Thai keeper Kawin Thamsatchanan with a half volley early in the second minute.
Thailand then replied two minutes later through midfielder Datsakorn Thonglao but he was a little slow off the pace as Malaysian keeper Farizal Marlias recovered for a clean save.
With Teerasil Dangda leading the attack and ably supported by Theerathon Bunmathan and Jakkapan Buntao from either flanks, the Thais were causing a lot of problems to the Malaysian backline as their frustration soon turned physical with Mahalli Jasuli picking up the first yellow card in the game in the 14th minute of play.
Then it was the turn of centreback Mohd Fadhli Shas for his first yellow card before a second yellow just before the break for his altercation with Datsakorn saw him being ejected from the field of play by Lee Min Hu from South Korea.
Playing with a man advantage gave Thailand more confidence in the second half and right at the hour mark, a mistake from Amar Rohidan saw Teerasil racing in before beating Farizal with a well-placed shot.
Five minutes later, Thailand went 2-0 up when Theerathon blasted in from inside the box.
“Both goals were gifts. It was difficult to play Thailand here what more when we have to play with ten men,” added Malaysian chief coach Datuk K. Rajagobal.
THAILAND (Red/Red/Red): Kawin Thamsatchanan (GK), Panupong Wongsa, Theerathon Bunmathan (Arthit Sunthornphit, 79th), Chonlatit Jantakam, Datsakorn Thonglao, Teerasil Dangda, Anucha Kitpongsri, Adul Lahsoh, Jakkapan Pornsai (Sompong Soleb, 75th) Phichitphong Choeichiu (Apipoo Suntornpanavej 46th), Piyaphon Buntao.
Assistant coach: Alexander Polking
Scorer(s): Teerasil Dangda 60th, Theerathon Bunmathan 65th
Yellow: Phitchitphong Choeichiu (23rd), Sompong Soleb (75th)
MALAYSIA (Blue/White/Blue): Mohd Farizal Marlias (GK), Mahalli Jasuli, Mohd Bunyamin Umar, Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, Safiq Rahim, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Amar Rohidan (Mohd Faizal Muhamad, 66th), S. Kunanlan (Mohd Khyril Muhymeen Zambri, 52nd), Azamuddin Mohd Akil, Baddrol Bakhtiar (Safee Sali, 72nd), Mohd Fadhli Shas.
Head coach: Datuk K. Rajagobal
Yellow: Mahalli Jasuli (14th), Mohd Fadhli Shas (27th, 44th)
Referee: Lee Min Hu (South Korea)
Asst Referee 1: Lee Jung Min (South Korea)
Asst Referee 2: Ji Seung Min (South Korea)
Fourth Official: Kim Dae Yong (South Korea)
Match Commissioner: Dr Tran Quoc Tuan (Vietnam)
Referee Assessor: Dhang Thanh Ha (Vietnam)
General Coordinator: Tin Aung (Myanmar)
Pix by Thananuwat Srirasant (World Sport Group)