Thailand Clinches Fourth AFF Championship
Santino Honasan on Dec 21, 2014 01:41 AM
(Photo Courtesy of AFFSuzukiCup.com) Thailand hoists their fourth AFF Championship
Thailand hoisted their fourth AFF Championship on Saturday night as they defeated Malaysia, 4-3 on aggregate in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Finals.
The War Elephants went into enemy grounds carrying with them a 2-0 aggregate lead, following their win in the first leg, but the final 90 minutes of the tournament would not be as easy though, as the Malaysian nationals gave their Thai rivals an early scare in the first half.
Seven minutes into the match, a foul was called on Thailand, allowing tournament leading scorer Mohd Safiq Rahim to pull one back for Malaysia via a penalty kick.
In the second minute of injury time added in the first half, Thailand goalie Kawin Thamsatchanan errantly left his post to go for a save, and Malaysia’s Indira Putra capitalized by heading the ball straight to the back of the net to give the home team a 2-0 halftime lead, making it 2-2 on aggregate.
In the 58th mark, Safiq struck again, this time on a free kick to give the Harimau Malaya a 3-0 lead and a 3-2 aggregate lead.
Malaysia was seemingly minutes away from snatching the title away from the heavily favored War Elephants, but the Thais had other plans.
With eight minutes left in regulation, Charyl Chappuis came up big once again for Thailand, scoring off a saved free kick to make it 3-3 on aggregate and go ahead on away goals.
In the 87th minute, Chanathip Songkransin silenced the Malaysian crowd with a laser-like goal from outside the penalty box to give Thailand back the aggregate lead and ultimately seal the finals.
Thailand claims their fourth AFF championship in ten tournament appearances, their first coming in 1996 followed by back to back titles in 2000 and 2002.
The tournament MVP plum went to finals hero Chanathip Songkransin, while the Golden Boot award went to Malaysia’s Mohd Safiq, who finished the tournament with six goals scored. Semi-finalists Vietnam took home the Fair Play award.