Indonesians Raised Thailand’s Game in AFF Suzuki Cup Triumph
Not many would have predicted the Garudas to be one of the finalists when the bi-annual tournament kicked off in November. For a country who just had their ban lifted by FIFA after a year,
Not many would have predicted the Garudas to be one of the finalists when the bi-annual tournament kicked off in November. For a country who just had their ban lifted by FIFA after a year, the intention of making up the lost times on international stage was obvious, but to announce their intention by reaching the AFF Suzuki Cup’s Final was exaggerating and unbelieveable.
The opponents whom Indonesia have overcame during the group stage and semi-final spoke much about the team’s characters considering the team was not exactly made up of all the best players from Indonesian league – only 2 players were allowed to be selected from each club. A weird decision from Indonesian FA but probably a prioritized and carefully thought through decision in order to maintain the competitiveness of their ongoing Torabika Soccer Championship.
On the other hand, the newly crowned-AFF Suzuki Cup Champion Thailand has been enjoying great exposures playing against top Asian opponents in the final round of the FIFA World Cup 2018 Asian Qualifying for the past months. To the be crowned the AFF Suzuki Cup Champion, that seems to be the minimum expectation for the undisputed King of Southeast Asia (ASEAN).
However, judging from their performance in the first leg of the Final against the underdog Indonesia, football fans were not convinced. Thailand was made to pay for their underestimation of Indonesia as they went down 2-1. Indeed, tournament’s Top Scorer Teerasail Dangda and Most Valuable Player Chanathip Songkrasin frequently stood up at the right moment to save Thailand from some possible embarrassments, but their overall play was far from what they were capable of.
The wake-up call finally came in the second leg of the Final where the War Elephants have to score a minimum 2 clear goals to nothing to lift the AFF Suzuki Cup for a record fifth time. In front of a full home crowd in Bangkok, and with a little help from lady luck, Siroch Chatthong put Thailand back in the game from close range in the 37th minute. The chap scored again, this time round with a beautiful curler in the 47th minute to put Thailand in complete control of the Final.
Final whistle blew, Thailand answered for their own performance and lifted the AFF Suzuki Cup for the record fifth time. A well-deserved and anticipated ending but credit should not be taken away from Indonesia as they really was the one who woke the Thais up, remind them that the title was theirs to lose.
For the Indonesians’ effort, all we have to say is Pride. We could see that the Indonesians played with lots of Pride.