An exciting end to an exciting tournament! The 2019 AFF U-22 Championship finally came to an end after a week full of action. In the end, Indonesia pipped the rest to the trophy, beating Thailand in the final. Here’s our report on the final of the competition.
Indonesia’s road to the AFF U-22 Championship Final was filled with obstacles. Garuda Muda had started the competition on a dull note, drawing both their opening matches. However, a 2-0 win in their final group game against Cambodia, along with a little help from elsewhere, allowed them to qualify for the semifinal.
In the penultimate stage of the competition, the Southeast Asian giants faced Vietnam, who had finished as winners of Group A. However, a moment of magic from Luthfi Kamal helped them make it to the final.
Indonesia faced Thailand in the final after the War Elephants had beaten hosts Cambodia in the semifinal themselves. The reigning champions, meanwhile, had also finished runners-up in their group, winning two and drawing one of their games.
Garuda Muda began the 2019 AFF U-22 Championship Final on the front foot and could’ve gone ahead within five minutes. However, the Thai goalkeeper on the night, Korraphat Nareechan made a stunning stop to keep the two teams level.
Indonesia threatened Thailand plenty of times in the first half but were always shunned by the defence. The War Elephants, meanwhile, looked to hit their opponents on the break but were unable to do so.
As a result, the first half ended with neither side being able to outsmart the other.
Thailand took the lead early in the second half when captain Saringkan Promsupa glanced in a delightful freekick into the back of the net. Indonesia goalkeeper Awan Setho did manage to get his hand to Saringkan’s header but was unable to keep it out.
Having gone behind, Indonesia hit back instantly. Sani Riski levelled the match for Garuda Muda after his long-range effort took a heavy deflection and crept past the goalkeeper.
However, Indonesia weren’t done yet. Within seven minutes of going behind, the took the lead with Osvaldo Haay, who headed the ball in for his first of the competition.
Garuda Muda did have Bagas Adi sent off for them late on in the match. Despite that, they held on firmly to lift the 2019 AFF U-22 Championship.