Thailand battles Malaysia for 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Championship
Santino Honasan on Dec 17, 2014 01:01 PM
The Thailand War Elephants go head to head against Malaysia's Harimau Malaya for the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Finals.
What started as eight ASEAN football teams is now down to the final two as Thailand meets Malaysia in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Finals.
Thailand began their tournament with a rematch from the 2012 Finals against Singapore. The War Elephants exacted a measure of revenge against the defending champions, defeating Singapore 2-1. With the game tied going into the final moments of regulation, Charyl Chappuis connected on an 89th minute penalty to ice the game for Thailand.
Thailand went on to dominate Group B, sweeping the Group Stages with a 3-2 win over Malaysia and then a 2-0 rout of Myanmar to clinch their seventh semifinals appearance and sit atop their Group with three wins and nine points.
In the semifinals, the Kiatisak Senamuang-coached squad faced off against the Philippine Azkals, Group A’s runners-up. The Azkals provided a tough test for the War Elephants in the first leg of the semis, forcing a 0-0 draw in the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium to end a 14 year Thai winning streak over the Philippines. In the second leg however, the Thais once again showed their dominance in front of a home-country crowd and defeated the Azkals 3-0, led by a brace from Kroekit Thaweekarn.
The War Elephants will be relying on the services of striker Chappuis, super-sub Adisak Kraisorn, and semis hero Kroekit to lead the squad to possibly their fourth AFF championship.
2010 AFF Champions Malaysia may have something to say about that however.
The Harimau Malaya’s 2014 AFF Tourney didn’t exactly kick off with a bang, going to a draw with Myanmar and then losing to Thailand in their Group Stage Outing.
With a semis berth hanging in the balance going into their final Group Stage match, the Malaysian booters sent defending champions Singapore packing with a 3-1 win. With the game tied at the 90th minute, a Mohd Safiq Rahim penalty goal and an Indra Putra Mahayuddin conversion in injury time shattered Singapore’s hopes of a repeat. The win secured Malaysia’s sixth semis appearance.
In the semifinals, coach Dollah Salleh’s boys took on Group A leaders Vietnam. After the first leg of the semis, Malaysia looked to be doomed, losing to The Gold Stars 2-1. Malaysia came up big once again in proverbial “do-or-die” game in the second leg, defeating Vietnam 4-2, with all four Malay goals coming before the halftime break. Vietnam’s Le Cong Vinh tried to bring his squad back, but managed only two conversions. Malaysia won 5-4 on aggregate, booking a spot in the finals.
The Harimau Malaya will be looking to tournament leading scorer Mohd Safiq Rahim, who has found the back of the net four times already in this year’s tourney.
You can catch the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Finals LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports + Action channel 23. The first leg airs live on Wednesday, December 17 at 7:30pm, while the second leg airs live on Saturday, December 20 at 8pm.