Malaysia reach Suzuki Cup final
Malaysia reached the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup final on away goals after a 2-2 draw with holders Thailand in the semi-final, second leg in Bangkok yesterday as Adisak Kraisorn missed a late penalty for the hosts.
The teams fought to a goalless draw in the first leg in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha's 71st-minute equaliser to make it 2-2 kept alive Malaysia hopes of a first title since 2010.
The agonising miss by striker Adisak, the tournament's top scorer, six minutes into added time denied the Thais a fourth final in a row as he skied the spot-kick over the bar.
Malaysia will meet Vietnam or the Philippines in the two-legged final on Dec 11 and 15, with the Vietnamese holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg when they meet in Hanoi today.
Thailand were looking to extend their championship-winning streak to three this year and Milovan Rajevac's side went in front after 21 minutes when Thitipan Puangchan's goalward header was bundled over his own goal line by Irfan Zakaria.
Seven minutes later, the Malaysians were level on the night.
The move started when Malaysia goalkeeper Farizal Marlias rolled the ball out and, seven quick-fire passes later, Syahmi Safari smashed a right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area into the top corner of Chatchai Budprom's goal.
Thailand reclaimed the advantage three minutes after the hour when Pansa Hemviboon scored at the second attempt with a header after the Malaysia defence failed to clear substitute Sumanya Purisai's free-kick.
But eight minutes later, Norshahrul gave Malaysia the edge in the tie once again when he controlled Syamer Kutty Abba's low cross before smashing his shot beyond Chatchai.
In injury time, Syahmi's handball earned the home side a penalty - and the defender a second booking - only for Adisak to fire high over the bar as their title hopes ended. - REUTERS