By ESPNSTAR.com staff
But unlike their more recent triumphs in 2004 and 2007, this encounter is more similar to their win in 1998 when they stunned Vietnam 1-0 on their opponents' own turf to lift their first regional title.
While the Lions are worthy finalists, there is no doubting they will head into the final as underdogs given they are coming up against a War Elephants side that have yet to taste defeat in the competition, trampling all that have stood in their path.
Nonetheless, Singapore have shown they are more than capable of springing a surprise result, as they did in their opening Group B game when they beat Malaysia 3-0, and will be confident they have the quality to edge Thailand.
Here, ESPNSTAR.com takes a look at how Radojko Avramovic's side have made it this far, their previous record in finals, and who could play a key role for them.
Route to the final
Despite being handed a tricky opener against defending champions and group hosts Malaysia, Singapore got off to a winning start with a stunning 3-0 triumph over their arch-rivals.
Captain Shahril Ishak fired them in front in the 32nd minute when he clinically finished from close range, before doubling his and his side's tally six minutes later when he capitalised on a rare error from Harimau Malaya keeper Khairul Fahmi to nod home.
15 minutes from time, veteran striker Aleksandar Duric came off the bench and headed home their third to send them top of Group B.
The stage was then set for Singapore to seal their progress in their second game against Indonesia but in a controversial clash, they fell to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of Andik Vermansah's 88th-minute long-range strike.
Avramovic's men spent much of the second half playing with a numerical deficit after Irwan Shah was rightly sent off for two needless challenges on Andik, but they had a legitimate penalty shout waved away shortly after when Khairul Amri was felled inside the area by Wahyu Wijiastanto's clumsy challenge.
Now needing at least a draw in their final game against Laos to qualify, Singapore found themselves 2-0 down after 40 minutes as Thim Xad stunned them with strikes from Khampheng Sayavutthi and Keoviengpheth Lithideth.
Nonetheless, Shahril pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, before levelling the scores seven minutes into the second half when he expertly held off the challenge of Ketsada Souksavanh before firing into the back of the net.
Three minutes after the hour mark, the Lions edged ahead for the first time when Amri scored with a stunning free-kick and three minutes later, Fazrul Nawaz found the back of the net with a close-range header to all but send them through, even though they were given a late scare when Khampheng made it 4-3 with nine minutes remaining.
|1||Singapore||3 ||2 ||0 ||1||7 ||4 ||3 ||6 |
|2||Malaysia||3 ||2 ||0 ||1||6 ||4 ||2||6 |
|3||Indonesia||3 ||1||1 ||1||3 ||4 ||-1 ||4 |
|4||Laos||3 ||0||1||2 ||6 ||10 ||-4 ||1|
Having finished top of their group, the Lions were pitted against Group A runners-up Philippines, and there was plenty of significance about the first leg at the Rizal Memorial Stadium given it was the first time the Azkals were hosting a game in the competition.
Despite a passionate home crowd cheering Philippines' every touch, Singapore got the game off to a dominant start but were unable to convert their chances, with Shahril missing the pick of the bunch midway through the first half when he fired wide when faced with an empty goal, after Duric's cross-cum-shot had beaten Eduard Sacapano.
Having failed to net an away goal, they headed into the return leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium aware that an Azkals strike would severely change to complexion of the tie due to the away goals rule.
19 minutes in, Amri fired Singapore ahead when he found space on the edge of the area and curled a delightful effort into the bottom corner.
Philippines then piled on the pressure after the break in search of the goal that would take them through to their first-ever Suzuki Cup final but try as they might, they were unable to find a way past a resilient opposition backline that was marshalled superbly by Baihakki Khaizan.
Previous final appearances
1998: Vietnam 1-0 Singapore
2004: Indonesia 1-3 Singapore, Singapore 2-1 Indonesia
2007: Singapore 2-1 Thailand, Thailand 1-1 Singapore
Players to watch
Many of Singapore's goals have come from Shahril's clinical ways in front of the posts, and it's no surprise he is currently the competition's second-highest scorer behind Teerasil Dangda.
However, given the quality of Thailand's centre-back duo of Panupong Wongsa and Chonlatit Jantakam, it is likely his threat will be nullified if the War Elephants are able to double-team him.
As such, it is imperative a player like Amri comes to the fore as an alternate attacking options for the Lions, and both his strikes in the tournament so far have shown he is capable of finding the back of the net.
His stunning freekick in the win over Laos and his crucial strike against the Azkals were examples of how he can pose a threat outside the box, and given Singapore are not likely to get too many chances inside the area, it is imperative that they make their chances count.
One of Thailand's key strengths all tournament long has been their midfield combination, and with Adul Lahsoh and Phichitphong Choeichiu doing the dirty work, Datsakorn Thonglao is usually capable of pulling the strings and carving open opposition defences, as he did against Malaysia.
In the absence of Hariss Harun, Isa Halim has come into the side and done a good job in the Lions engine room, but he will have to up his game to stem the threat posed by the War Elephants' dynamic playmaker.
The 26-year-old is one of the few players with the aerobic capacity and tenacity to follow Datsakorn all over the park, but whether or not he can manage to get the ball of his opponent is a completely different matter.
If Datsakorn is able to work his magic, it normally results in a glut of chances for the dangerous Teerasil, but he will be coming up against arguably the best centre-back in the competition in Baihakki.
The experienced Singapore star has hardly put a foot wrong since their opening game against Malaysia and is virtually unbeatable in the air. While Teerasil showed he has an uncanny knack of finding gaps to run in behind opposition defences, Baihakki is equally capable of weighing in with vital, last-ditch interceptions.
Already, this duel between Thailand's irrepressible hitman and the Lions' impenetrable shield is looming as one that could decide the tie.