Following the weekend’s conclusion of group play in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016, here is Football Channel Asia’s selections for our Best XI of Group A:
(Contributing Editions: Football Channel Indonesia, Football Channel Thailand)
GK Hassan Sunny (Singapore)
Despite his team failing to qualify for the knockout stage, 32-year-old Sunny put in one of the best performances of the round and gave up just three goals despite facing a barrage from Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.
DF Madhu Mohana (Singapore)
Was one of the best performers in Singapore’s defense. His tenacity and willingness to fight played a key role in the team’s shorthanded draw against Philippines, and he also played well against Thailand.
DF Amani Aguinaldo (Philippines)
At just 21 years old, Aguinaldo started in all three matches for the Azkals, delivering decent performances. Aguinaldo was not afraid of facing established stars such as Teerasil Dangda and Boaz Solossa, and could have a bright future on the back line.
DF Abduh Lestaluhu (Indonesia)
Arguably the best left back in the tournament so far. Lestaluhu’s forward presses and timely runs contributed to Indonesia’s attack in key situations, allowing them to break the deadlock when it counted.
MF Andik Vermansyah (Indonesia)
Used his speed, movement, and penetrative abilities to cause trouble for any defenders he faced. Andik’s equaliser against Singapore turned the match around for Indonesia completely and he will be a key target in the semifinals.
MF Stefano Lilipaly (Indonesia)
Was the beating heart of the Indonesian formation, delivering a key assist early on against Philippines and scoring the stunning game-winner against Singapore, a goal that lifted the underdogs into the semifinals.
MF Chanathip Songkrasin (Thailand)
The Muangthong United midfielder was a key figure for the War Elephants, converting his creativity and mobility into attacking opportunities for his teammates further up the pitch.
MF Sarach Yooyen (Thailand)
The speed and intensity in Sarach’s box-to-box runs never decreased over the course of his two appearances, and his presence was vital in connecting Thailand’s defence with its attack. The 24-year-old isn’t as well-known as some of his more popular teammates, but that may change if he impresses in the knockout stage.
MF Sarawut Masuk (Thailand)
The 26-year-old came off the bench the second half against Singapore, scoring the game-winner on the verge of full time. Sarawut was duly rewarded with a start against Philippines, against whom he scored another game winner, and coach Kiatisuk Senamuang will surely consider him in the mix for the starting XI against Myanmar.
FW Boaz Solossa (Indonesia)
Was an irreplaceable presence for Garuda, rewarded for his dangerous runs and penetrative play with two goals including the key equaliser against Singapore in the final match.
FW Teerasil Dangda (Thailand)
Continues to relish the role of Thailand’s top striker, demonstrating his strength, technique, and goal-scoring ability in each match. His hat-trick against Indonesia sent a clear signal to the rest of the group.
COACH: Alfred Riedl (Indonesia)
Third time’s the charm for the 67-year-old, who in his third stint managing Indonesia’s national team has managed to bring them back to the knockout stage for the first time since 2008. An incredible accomplishment for the Austrian, especially so soon after the country’s FIFA suspension was lifted.