Thailand fight back to beat Malaysia in AFF Championship semi-finals
BANGKOK – Following their 1-0 home win over Thailand over the weekend, Malaysia coach Kim Pan-gon had belief his players could beat the Thais again in the second leg of the Asean Football Federation Championship semi-finals at the Thammasat Stadium on Tuesday.
But it was not to be, as they lost 3-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate to crash out of the competition, missing their chance to win their first title since 2010.
Six-time winners and reigning champions Thailand will next face Vietnam in the first leg of the final in Hanoi on Friday.
Kim had said before the match: “We are ready and fully confident to play Thailand. Defending champions Thailand are the strongest team in the region. We respect them. But we will give a strong fight. We will try our best.”
The Thais indeed started the game the stronger, as Peeradol Chamrasamee had a shot blocked as early as the ninth minute, before Theerathon Bunmathan’s strike from outside the box seven minutes later was saved.
They broke the deadlock in the 19th minute, Teerasil Dangda scoring with a header from a cross by Theerathon. In a half dominated by the Thais, Malaysia had their first shot only in the 36th minute as Darren Lok’s header was saved.
The Malaysians made two changes after the break, V. Ruventhiran replacing Hakim Hassan and Lee Tuck coming in for Mukhairi Ajmal, hoping to improve things.
Thailand’s Adisak Kraisorn was also a second-half substitute for Teerasil.
The home side started the second half the way they began the first, with quick-fire attempts by Suphanan Bureerat and Sarach Yooyen blocked and missed in the 53rd minute.
Two minutes later, Bordin Phala made it 2-0 to Thailand as his shot hit the bottom left corner of the net after the Malaysians failed to clear a free kick.
Adisak’s goal from close range in the 71st minute then ensured there was no way back for Malaysia.
Kim’s Tigers had just 37 per cent possession and two shots on target against the War Elephants’ seven.
Thailand will be encouraged by the way they fought back to clinch the tie as they head into the title-decider against Vietnam, who are seeking to win their third title.