KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 – Late strikes from Charyl Chappuis and Chanathip Songkrisan earned Thailand their fourth title in the AFF Cup after surviving an onslaught from Malaysia at National Stadium in Bukit Jalil today. Down 2-0 from the first leg, Malaysia were eight minutes away from becoming champions after taking a 3-0 lead. However, Charyl and Chanathip each scored a goal past a tiring Malaysian defence to give Thailand a 4-3 aggregate win.  Played in front of a 90,000-capacity stadium, Malaysia earned a seventh minute lead when Safiq Rahim scored from the spot after Norshahrul Idlan Talaha’s was fouled inside the Thai penalty box.

Thailand could have leveled on several occasions had striker Adisak Kraisorn and Kroekrit Thawikan scored in the 10th and 32nd minutes. Kiatisuk Senamuang’s side could not play their normal smooth-flowing football due to the poor pitch condition. Indra Putra Mahayuddin equalled Safee Sali’s record of nine goals in his third AFF Cup appearance by heading past Thailand goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan two minutes into the first half of stoppage time for a 2-0 lead.

After the breather, Malaysia pressed forward for a third goal and the moment arrived when Malaysia earned a free kick after Norshahrul was fouled outside the Thailand penalty box in the 58th minute. Safiq stepped up and scored his sixth to become the top scorer of the AFF Cup. But Chappuis broke the hearts of Malaysia by netting after goalkeeper Farizal Marlias parried a free kick onto his path in the 82nd minute before Chanathip added a second for Thailand three minutes from time.

Nation News Sports

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