Siroch double sends Thais to Suzuki Cup triumph
Thai forward Siroch Chatthon scored twice against Indonesia to help Thailand lift the Suzuki Cup in Bangkok late yesterday, overturning a shock first leg deficit. Goals on either side of halftime gave his side a 2-0 victory that helped Thailand retain the hotly-contested Southeast Asian title for a record fifth time.
The pressure was on the War Elephants after a crushing loss to Indonesia in the final’s first-leg, when the Garuda took advantage of their home turf to become the first team in the tournament to breach Thailand’s defence with a 2-1 win.
But Thailand headed into half time in high spirits on Saturday after Siroch got lucky and kneed a pass from Theerathon Bunmathan into the net just seven minutes before the break.
The strike shaved off Indonesia’s first-leg win advantage and set off a thunderous roar from raucous, fan-packed stands in Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium.
Thailand charged confidently back onto the field after half time and swiftly widened their lead when Suroch scored his second goal eight minutes in. The squad continued their onslaught of attacks for the remainder of the match but failed to make another breakthrough. In minute 81’ Indonesian goalkeeper Kurnia Meiga found some redemption in blocking a penalty kick by Thailand’s star striker Teerasil Dangda, who earned the cup’s top scorer award with 6 goals in the tournament. The Garuda emerged as the dark horse of this year’s tournament after making it to the final despite missing out on more than a year of competitive matches due to a oneyear ban from international events imposed by world soccer body FIFA.
The AFF Suzuki Cup was Indonesia’s first international tournament since the ban was lifted in May. But the team will now go home empty-handed from the final for the fifth time, as Thailand’s smooth-passing, attack-minded players once again take the Southeast Asian title.
BANGKOK: Thailand’s football team players and staff hold aloft an image of Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn after Thailand won the AFF Suzuki Cup Final between Thailand and Indonesia at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok yesterday.