Analysis

AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 deserved Bukit Jalil final… Malaysia delivered

FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan believes it is fitting that the Bukit Jalil National Stadium will host a final at AFF Suzuki Cup 2018.

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On the most dramatic, heart-stopping evening that will live long in the history of Southeast Asian football, it is Malaysia who are advancing into the final of AFF Suzuki Cup 2018.

Having come from behind twice, the first time courtesy of a goal of the tournament contender from Syahmi Safari, Malaysia looked to have done the job with a 2-2 draw at the Rajamangala Stadium enough to see them beat Thailand on away goals.

Then, in the fourth minute of injury-time, the Thais won a penalty as Syahmi was penalised for handball inside the box, which also saw the right-back sent off for a second bookable offence.

Incredibly, the usually-prolific Adisak Kraisorn – with eight goals to his name in the tournament already – blazed his effort from 12 yards high into the Bangkok night sky, sealing Harimau Malaya’s passage into the final.

Based on what happened on the pitch over 180 minutes, did Malaysia deserve to advance?

Definitely.

In the first leg at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, they came out all guns blazing despite being widely regarded as underdogs and could have won that tie if not for some wasteful finishing.

Tan Cheng Hoe deserves credit for leading Malaysia to only their fourth-ever AFF final.