Thailand secures sixth Southeast Asian crown after Indonesia draw

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THAILAND secured a record sixth Southeast Asian title after a 2-2 draw with Indonesia in Saturday’s second leg of the Suzuki Cup final earned the War Elephants an emphatic 6-2 aggregate win.

Egy Mualana’s late equalizer earned Indonesia a 2-2 draw on Saturday but that was not enough to stop Thailand’s charge towards their first title in the competition since 2016.

Leading 4-0 after the first leg, Mano Polking’s side were given an early scare when Ricky Kambuaya scored Indonesia’s opener seven minutes into the second leg at Singapore National Stadium.

The goal gave the Indonesians, who have never won the title and were appearing in a sixth final, a glimmer of hope as Siwarak Tedsungnoen allowed the low shot from the edge of the area to squirm out of his hands and spin over the line.

But two goals in two second-half minutes snuffed out any chance of a comeback for coach Shin Tae-yong and his team, with Adisak Kraisorn leveling before Sarach Yooyen put the Thais in front.

Adisak’s equalizer came nine minutes after his half time introduction when he scored on the rebound following Bordin Phala’s initial shot, while two minutes later Sarach’s low drive was directed past Nadeo Argawinata.

With 10 minutes remaining Egy pulled Indonesia level with a shot across Siwarak that found the bottom corner, but it was not enough to spark a late and unlikely revival.

Thailand reclaimed the trophy for the first time since beating Indonesia in the 2016 final. They also triumphed in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2014.

The competition, which had been postponed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, was being played as a centralized competition in a biosecure bubble in Singapore. — Reuters