Thailand triumph after 5-goal thriller

Harimau Malaya hearts were broken when two late goals earned a youthful Thailand side the AFF Suzuki Cup in a five goal thriller at the Stadium Shah Alam in Kuala Lumpur. 

Thailand's form and their brace in the first leg meant they went into the final favourites, but no-one could have guessed how Malaysia would play for their home fans. The hosts scored three first half goals and looked to be shoe-ins for the Cup, but the away-goal rule played in the favour of the visitors and they won with a 4-3 aggregate.

The stadium was packed with home support, with a reported 90 000 fans in attendance for the match.

The game was off to a blinding start when the hosts earned a penalty in the sixth minute after a Norsharhul Talaha foul. Safiq slotted the opener past Kawin Thamsatchanan with ease. Safiq has been immense over the course of the tournament, scoring a total of six goals and earning the top scorer award in the process.

Thailand's young team seemed shocked by the goal, and struggled to find their rhythm afterwards. Malaysia took full advantage, keeping the pressure on their opponents. The hosts also did well to defend against Thailand's Chanatip Songkrasin, preventing him from finding the space he did in the first leg of the final.

It looked like Thailand had regrouped enough to keep the Malaysians from scoring a second, until a magnificent goal in injury time of the first half helped Malaysia go level with 45 minutes still to play. Indra Putra did well to get on the end of a Talaha pass and slot in the goal.

In the second half Malaysia clearly felt bullish, slipping past the Thailand defence again and again. They had several chances in the opening minutes of the second half, until finally in the 57th minute Rahim scored to give them the lead.

Thailand finally found their form in the 82nd minute with the star of the first leg Charyl Chappuis finding the back of the net. With that goal Thailand took the lead over the two legs with the away goal rule.

A revitalised Thailand scored a second just three minutes later when the ever Songkrasin got on the end of an Adisak Kraisorn cross and found enough space to slot it into the back of the net.

This is Thailand's fourth time winning the AFF Suzuki Cup, after they lifted the trophy in 1996, 2000 and 2002.

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