Analysis

AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Why Norshahrul, and not Adisak, is the competition’s best striker

Heading into the semifinals of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, all eyes were on Thailand hitman Adisak Kraisorn and whether he could continue his record-breaking feats. However, in the space of sixty seconds, Adisak went from hero to villain, sparking a debate on whether he is indeed the best striker in the competition. 

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Here, FOX Sports Asia looks at why Malaysia’s talisman Norshahrul Idlan, and not Adisak, is the best striker in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.

Contrasting semifinal performances

Top strikers are expected to come good on the big stage – when their team needs them the most. After all, the true strength of character is on show only under severe adversity.

Before the first leg of their semifinal against Malaysia, the War Elephants were overwhelming favourites to take home the trophy for a record sixth time, and there was no doubt as to who the best player in the competition was.

Adisak had netted eight times already and looked in menacing form. However, come crunch time, the 27-year-old struggled to lift his game, looking like a shadow of the player he was in previous games.

In contrast, Norshahrul stepped up when his team needed him the most. In the crucial second leg at the Rajamangala Stadium, with the chips down, it was the Malaysian striker’s instinctive effort that gave Harimau Malaya their equaliser for the second time – and their second away goal – which ultimately proved enough to propel them into the final.

Adisak, on the other hand, crumbled under the pressure. With the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders, the Thai striker skied his penalty, sending his side crashing out of the competition.