BANGKOK (22 Dec 2012) – Thailand, a three-time former winner of the prestigious AFF Suzuki Cup, will attempt to defy history by recovering from a first leg final loss to win the event for a record-breaking fourth time.
Since the two-leg home and away format was introduced in 2004, all the teams that won the first-leg would go on to claim the title. Singapore won the first leg final matches in 2004 and 2006-07 against Indonesia and Thailand respectively. In 2008, Vietnam won the first leg away to Thailand and went o to claim their first AFF Suzuki Cup title.
In 2010, Malaysia demolished Indonesia 3-0 in the first leg final tie in Kuala Lumpur but lost the return tie in Jakarta. However, the score from the first leg proved to be sufficient to take the Tigers through to their first title.
But will the first leg score of 3-1 enough to take the Lions through this time around? Coach Raddy Avramovic warned that if Singapore just sat back and tried to defend their lead, it could end up in a disaster. “We are finished if we defend. We must attempt to score as well but for sure, Thailand will be coming at us.”
Singapore have proven in previous matches just how dangerous they are on the break, and if the Thais are not cautious, they will end up conceding a goal or two.
For now, Singapore have a lead which may well be enough to see them picking up their fourth title. Apart from the first leg winners always ending up as champions, the Lions also have another bit of statistic that favours them; that Singapore have won every final they have qualified for.
Singapore have entered only three finals prior to this year – in 1998, 2004 and 2006 – and on all three occasions, they emerged champions. Avramovic has also never lost a AFF Suzuki Cup final. He was head coach in 2004 and 2006.
A victory tonight will make a lovely parting gift for Avramovic who has said that he will be leaving the Lions at the end of the year.
Final: Thailand bt Malaysia 1-0
3-4th: Vietnam bt Indonesia 3-2
Final: Singapore bt Thailand 1-0
3-4th: Indonesia bt Thailand 3-3 (Ina won 5-4 on penalties)
Final: Thailand by Indonesia 4-1
3-4th: Malaysia bt Vietnam 3-0
Final: Thailand bt Indonesia 6-4
3-4th: Vietnam bt Malaysia 2-1
Final (1st leg): Singapore bt Indonesia 2-1
Final (2nd leg): Indonesia lost to Singapore 1-3
3-4th: Malaysia bt Myanmar 2-1
Final (1st leg): Singapore bt Thailand 2-1
Final (2nd leg): Thailand-Singapore 1-1
Losing semifinalists: Malaysia, Vietnam
Final (1st leg): Thailand lost to Vietnam 1-2
Final (2nd leg): Vietnam-Thailand 1-1
Losing semifinalists: Singapore, Indonesia
Final (1st leg): Malaysia bt Indonesia 3-0
Final (2nd leg): Indonesia bt Malaysia 2-1
Losing semifinalists: Philippines, Vietnam
Final (1st leg):Singapore bt Thailand 3-1
Final (2nd leg):
Losing semifinalists: Philippines, Malaysia