Malaysia and Vietnam have proved themselves worthy of being finalists in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup and with the second leg of the final almost here, the two still have realistic opportunities to be champions after 90 minutes.
At the moment, the aggregate score is level at 2-2, with Vietnam holding a slight advantage due to away goals.
However, never count out Malaysia as they have a potent attacking force and – as shown in the later stages of the first leg – they can convert attempts to goals in a blink of an eye.
With that in mind, another 2-2 draw in the second leg results in a penalty shootout between the two teams.
In the history of the AFF Suzuki Cup, there’s only been one final that needed a penalty shootout to determine a winner and we take a quick look back at how things unfolded.
2002 AFF SUZUKI CUP – THE FINALISTS’ ROADS
Back in 2002, Thailand were looking to defend their 2000 AFF Suzuki Cup title but would not start off their competition the ideal way despite winning their first group stage match against Laos with a scoreline of 5-1. In their second match, they took a 3-1 hammering defeat to Malaysia which left them struggling for points.
With three points heading into the final group stage match, they would face Singapore who were level on points with the War Elephants. The only lead Thailand had was better goal difference.
The match ended with a 1-1 draw which meant the defending champions barely made it to the next round.
Meanwhile, Indonesia were part of Group A and opened their campaign with a 0-0 draw against Myanmar.
Needing a victory, they thrashed Cambodia 4-2 to get their first maximum points of the contest. Next was a 2-2 draw against Vietnam which saw the with five points heading into their last group stage contest.
Needing a win over the Philippines and hope that Myanmar slip in their last match, Indonesia dominated the Philippines 13-1 and with Myanmar losing 4-2 to Vietnam, it sealed the Indonesians’ ticket to the knockout stages.
THE KNOCKOUT STAGES
Booking their tickets to the next round, Thailand made sure they would erase any memory of the lacklustre group stages and dominated Group A winners Vietnam 4-0 to reach the final.
Two goals on each half spelled the difference as Thailand played with purpose as they dismantled the Golden Dragons.
While Thailand were dominant, the other semifinal match between Indonesia and Malaysia was determined by a single goal – a 75th minute conversion by Bambang Pamungkas which saw Indonesia through.
Indonesia did just enough and their only goal-scorer continued his fine form as he would eventually be the competition’s top scorer with eight throughout the campaign.
At Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Thailand and Indonesia met in front of a reported 100,000 fans.
In what was a replay of the finals in 2000, Thailand were looking to get a similar result while the Indonesians hoped for a change in outcome as they wanted to win their first-ever AFF Suzuki Cup title.
Unfortunately, for Indonesia, the War Elephants struck early with Chukiat Noosarung scoring in the 26th minute. Things went from bad to worse for the Indonesians as Therdsak Chaiman would double the lead only 12 minutes later.
Facing a 2-0 deficit at the half, Indonesia turned things around in the second frame as they scored in the 46th courtesy of Yaris Riyadi. Gendut Doni Christiawan finally levelled the score in the 79th minute and both teams failed to find a winning goal with the time remaining.
Ultimately, the match would be decided by a penalty shootout. Bambang converted his attempt while Kiatisuk Senamuang would miss Thailand’s opener.
With a chance to get a definitive advantage, Indonesia’s Sugiantoro stepped up but failed to convert his spot kick.
Sakda Joemdee would convert his to tie things up for Thailand while Sugiantoro missed for Indonesia as they failed to reclaim the advantage.
Now their chance to take control, Thailand’s Therdsak converted his attempt to give the War Elephants a 2-1 lead as things went from bad to worse for Indonesia as Sandy Firmansyah would also miss.
Manit Noywech scored his penalty kick to give the Thais a 3-1 lead, only for Imran Nahumarury to keep some pressure on the War Elephants.
However, it would not be useful as Dusit Chalermsan converted his spot kick to award the Thais the AFF Suzuki Cup for 2002 and complete their attempt for back-to-back triumphs.