Siroch Chattong’s half-fortunate brace handed Thailand their second straight AFF Suzuki Cup title with a 2-0 win over Indonesia, giving the home crowd a 3-2 aggregate victory on an unforgettable Saturday night in Bangkok.
Thai captain Teerasil Dangda and teammates Chanatip Songkrasin and Tristan Do frequently ventured into the final third but could rarely gather the numbers needed to create a solid chance. Teerasil, the tournament’s leading goalscorer, was perhaps lucky to avoid a caution for elbowing an opponent during a race for the ball in the 13th minute.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s first real shot of the match did not come until the 26th minute when a mis-clearance allowed Zulham Zamrun enough time for a well-powered effort that went wide.
Much of Garuda’s work went into defending, but the dam broke in the 37th minute when Theerathon Bunmathan’s low cross from the left side deflected off Indonesian defender Fachrudin Aryanto before bouncing off Thai striker Siroch and into the goal.
The packed crowd at Rajamangala Stadium roared even louder than they had over the previous hour, except for the pocket of Indonesian fans who were rendered silent.
Less than two minutes into the second half, Siroch doubled the lead on a beautiful chip from inside the penalty area after T16 passed the ball between the Indonesian defender’s legs.
Indonesian goalkeeper Kurnia Meiga’s brilliant save in the 50th minute kept Thailand from making it 3-0, and he would do it again in the 81st minute – this time blocking Teerasil from the spot after being called for a studs-up tackle on Siroch in the area.
But his teammates simply lacked the creativity to push for an away goal that would have forced extra time, and things got ugly in stoppage time when Abduh Lestaluhu was shown a straight red card for kicking an out-of-play ball into the Thai bench.
The last-minute theatrics did little to detract from the achievement completed by Thai manager Kiatisuk Senamuang’s men, who became the first team since 2002 – then also Thailand – to defend the Suzuki Cup.