Thailand vs Malaysia Player Ratings

Thailand booked their place in the AFF Suzuki Cup final for the first time since 2008 on Thursday after beating Malaysia 3-1 on aggregate in their semi-final clash.

An acrobatic clearance by Mahalli!

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

After both sides played out a 1-1 draw in last Sunday's first leg in Kuala Lumpur, it was the War Elephants who emerged triumphant at the Suphachalasai Stadium with a 2-0 win courtesy of second-half goals from Teerasil Dangda and Theerathon Bunmathan.

However, the game was marred by the controversial sending-off of Fadhli Shas towards the end of the first half, after he was handed his second yellow for squaring up to Datsakorn Thonglao.

Here, ESPNSTAR.com runs the rule on the players who took to the pitch on Thursday evening.

Thailand

Kawin Thamsatchanan - 7

Kawin was rarely tested on the night but showed how valuable he is as the best keepers are always ready for action despite their lack of activity through the 90 minutes.

With nine minutes to go, a Malaysia goal would have severely changed the complexion of the game but it was not to be as the Muangthong United keeper pushed away a bullet header from Norshahrul Idlan Talaha at the far post.

Piyaphon Buntao - 7.5

The 25-year-old could just be Thailand's first-choice right-back over the next decade after greatly impressing in the tournament so far.

Steady at the back, Piyaphon is also a real threat going forward and at upstaged Jakkapan Pornsai as the War Elephants' more-dangerous outlet down the right.

Panupong Wongsa - 8

There is no denying that Panupong is now one of the best centre-backs in Southeast Asia and his presence at the back went a long way in ensuring Kawin had little to do, as he headed away everything Harimau Malaya sent into the box.

The Thai captain also looked very comfortable in possession and initiated a few attacks from the defence.

Chonlatit Jantakam - 7

Just like in Sunday's first leg, Chonlatit was kept busy all evening long by Norshahrul but coped well given the circumstances.

Anucha Kitpongsri - 7

The Chonburi man was deployed at left-back on Thursday but it didn't exactly matter as he and Theerathon regularly exchanged positions, making it impossible for the visitors to handle the left-wing duo.

Anucha put his pace to good use on several occasions when he bombed forward and he was unlucky not to score late on when he fizzed a strike narrowly wide of the far post.

Adul Lahsoh - 8

One of the most under-rated players in the competition, Adul continues to fly under the radar with his unfashionable style of play, but those within the Thai camp will be aware how important he is.

He never gave his opponents any time to settle on the ball in the middle of the park, and was quick to get his side on the front foot once he had regained possession.

Phichitphong Choeichiu (off 46') - 6

Phichitpong had a disappointing outing by his lofty standards and was replaced at the break.

Datsakorn Thonglao - 8

Unlike four days ago, when he started slowly at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium before sparking to life, Datsakorn was majestic from the opening whistle and sliced open the Malaysia defence regularly with the most-nonchalant of passes.

He really should have gotten an assist in the 30th minute when he left Mahalli Jasuli for dead with a ingenious drag-back before sending a spearing pass into the path of Teerasil, who could only fire wide.

Jakkapan Pornsai (off 70') - 6.5

Jakkapan will be disappointed with his performance as he failed to really supply many balls into the box despite having the pace and skill to take on Bunyamin Umar.

It was, however, his freekick that led to Thailand scoring their second.

Theerathon Bunmathan (off 78') - 9

After a woeful display last Sunday, Theerathon was deployed in a more-attacking role by Winfried Schafer and repaid his coach's faith in him by producing a man-of-the-match display.

The 22-year-old caused sheer havoc in the visitors' penalty area with his dangerous deliveries and showed good instincts to pounce on a rebound and double his side's lead in the 65th minute.

Teerasil Dangda - 8.5

Teerasil showed again on Thursday why he's probably headed to Europe next year after another fantastic display in Southeast Asia's premier international tournament.

There's no doubting this man knows how to find the back of the net but against Malaysia, he produced something he's refrained from doing so far in the tournament - a display of his full array of skills, as he sent the Malaysia players running left, right and centre.

Subs

Apipoo Suntornpanavej (on 46') - 6.5

Apipoo could have opened the scoring a minute after coming on but completely scuffed his shot from ten yards after good work down the right by Piyaphon.

Sompong Soleb (on 70') - 7

We were a bit harsh on Sompong's display at the weekend, but he really did well on Thursday after coming on as a substitute.

This time around, he managed to put his imposing physique to good use and a major factor why he did better was the fact that he released the ball at the earliest opportunity.

Arthit Sunthornpit (on 78') - N/A

Arthit was brought on with 12 minutes remaining and had little time to make an impact, although he must have been glad to be back after missing the first leg through suspension following his red card against Vietnam.

Malaysia

Farizal Marlias - 6

Farizal actually had a good game in the opening 45 and made a couple of sharp saves to deny Thailand, and there was little he could have done about Teerasil's opener.

Nonetheless, that all came undone five minutes after the hour mark when, instead of parrying Jakkapan Pornsai's freekick to safety, he pushed it back into the danger zone and allowed Theerathon to pounce on the rebound.

Mahalli Jasuli - 7.5

Mahalli was one of the few Malaysians that didn't deserve to be on the losing end on Thursday evening.

Despite coming up against two of the region's most-dangerous left-sided players in Theerathon and Anucha, Mahalli battled valiantly and should be proud of his display.

Aidil Zafuan - 7

The new Darul Takzim signing looked a bit nervous early on and gave away possession cheaply in dangerous areas, but he did well to prevent his side from going behind in the first half by twice weighing in with brave blocks to deal with ferocious efforts from Teerasil.

Fadhli Shas - 6

Fadhli will undoubtedly feel hard done by after being issued a second yellow for squaring up to Datsakorn, but he probably knows he put himself in a sticky situation after picking up an early caution for a cynical foul on Adul.

Despite the disappointing way his Suzuki Cup campaign ended, the Harimau Muda star can be pleased with his overall display as he was their best defender for the most part.

Bunyamin Umar - 5

The Selangor man will be glad to see the back of Piyaphon after the Thailand right-back ran him ragged for the entire 90 minutes.

In Bunyamin's defence, he did try his best on the night but he was just up against a better, in-form opponent.

Azamuddin Akil - 6.5

Azamuddin did give the War Elephants a thing or two to worry about in their defensive third, but unfortunately, he just couldn't find the right ball at the crucial moment.

Amar Rohidan (off 66') - 4

If Amar continues to keep his place in the Harimau Malaya starting XI even after this tournament, questions are likely to be raised given his abject displays.

He offered his backline little protection and put his side under pressure by regularly conceding fouls, and his failure to perform the most basic of tasks - trapping a ball - saw allowed Teerasil to pounce and open the scoring.

Safiq Rahim - 6

Truth be told, Safiq has struggled to live up to his billing as one of the region's most-creative midfielders in the tournament.

In his defence, he did have to play a lot deeper following Fadhli's sending off, but a player of his talent should be looking to influence the game even when the going gets tough.

S. Kunanlan (off 53') - 5

Kunanlan has had a difficult season in the Malaysia Super League and it showed on Thursday as he failed to have an impact in the attacking third, something he used to perform with ease.

Baddrol Bakhtiar (off 72') - 6

Baddrol had a better outing compared to last Sunday and did well to keep possession on the few occasions Malaysia were looking to build.

Norshahrul Idlan Talaha - 7

Despite Norshahrul scoring just one goal all tournament long, one cannot undermine his value to Malaysia as he remains their only player who is capable of winning a game of his own boot at the moment, especially with Safee Sali struggling for form.

The ex-Kelantan forward kept Chonlatit busy all evening long, and it was unfortunate that Panupong was always there to sweep up, as he wasn't troubled by another Malaysia player.

Subs

Khyril Muhymeen Zambri (on 53') - 5

Plenty of Malaysians questioned the inclusion of Muhymeen in K. Rajagobal's 22-man squad given he was part of the Kedah side that were relegated from the Super League this year.

Although he is a talented player, his lack of form was telling and surely someone like Badhri Radzi would have been a better pick, even from off the bench.

Faizal Muhamad (on 66') - 6

The Terengganu man came on after Thailand were two goals to the good and was kept busy by the hosts' relentless waves of attack, although he didn't make any glaring errors.

Safee Sali (on 72') - 5.5

Safee had 18 minutes to make an impact but hardly touched the ball and struggled to get into any goalscoring position whatsoever.



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