Two late goals by Charyl Chappuis and Chanathip Songkrasin in the second leg against Malaysia secured Thailand’s first AFF Suzuki Cup title in 12 years.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Bangkok, the Harimau Malaya began the match at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in an aggressive fashion to overturn the deficit, which immediately paid dividends.
They were awarded a dubious penalty for a foul by Thailand’s Suttinun Phukhom on Norshahrul Idlan Talaha on the fifth minute.
Safiq Rahim made no mistake from the spot and sent goalkeeper Kawin Thammasatchanan the wrong way to convert his fourth penalty and fifth goal of the tournament.
Thailand sorted themselves out and almost scored an all-important away goal on the 10th minute when goalkeeper Farizal Marlias’ clearance was blocked by Adisak Kraisorn and ricocheted just wide of the goal.
The War Elephants continued to press forward and had golden opportunities on the 12th and 31st minutes, but Perapat Notechaiya and Kroekrit Thawikan respectively blasted their efforts just beyond the post.
Their misses proved to be costly, as Malaysia drew level on aggregate right before the half-time break as Indra Putra Mahayuddin headed a Norshahrul cross past Kawin, who misjudged the flight of the ball and caught in no man’s land.
Thailand started the second half stronger and came close to scoring when Kroekrit was sent clear for a one-on-one with Farizal but makeshift right-back S. Kunanlan made a brilliant recovery to block the shot.
Near the hour mark, Norshahrul was fouled just outside the penalty box, earning a free-kick that was brilliantly struck by Safiq to give Malaysia a 3-2 aggregate lead.
A couple of minutes later, Safee Sali could have put the match to rest and grabbed Malaysia’s fourth of the night when he was set up by Amri Yahyah, but his shot was unfortunately blocked by Indra Putra.
With the home side proceeding to run down the clock, the match looked set to finish in favour of them, but the Thais were given a lucky break with nine minutes remaining as Norshahrul unnecessarily gave a free-kick away just outside Malaysia’s penalty box.
Kroekrit’s effort was beaten by Farizal straight to Chappuis, who fired the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-3 on aggregate and put his side ahead on away goals.
With time running out, Dollah pushed his players forward but it backfired as the Thais launched a quick counter-attack on the 87th minute that ended with Chanatip, who had been relatively quiet throughout the game, blasting the ball from the edge of the box past the outstretched Farizal.
That proved to be the final goal of the action-packed match as Thailand won the match 4-3 on aggregate and lifted the trophy for the fourth time, equalling Singapore’s record.