Malaysia survive late drama to reach AFF final

BANGKOK • Malaysia reached the final of football's AFF Suzuki Cup on the away-goals rule, after fighting back to hold Thailand to a 2-2 draw in a pulsating affair at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok yesterday.

The Harimau Malaya had been held to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the semi-finals at Bukit Jalil last Saturday.

The away team's goals were scored by Syahmi Safari and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha while Thailand netted through an own goal by Irfan Zakaria and Pansa Hemviboon.

Thailand drew first blood after substitute Irfan accidentally bundled home a rebound in the 20th minute, following Malaysia goalkeeper Farizal Marlias' save from a Thitipan Puangchan header.

Seven minutes later, Malaysia equalised through a Syahmi thunderbolt. The right-back received the ball from midfielder Syamer Kutty Abba before driving forward and firing past Chatchai Budprom.

In the second half, Thailand upped the tempo and got their reward when Pansa headed past Farizal in the 63rd minute.

But in the 70th minute, Malaysia equalised again through a smart finish from Norshahrul.

The War Elephants, however, could have won the match in the dying moments after Syahmi gave away a penalty in the third minute of added time, only for Adisak Kraisorn to blast his spot-kick into the stands.

Malaysian goalkeeper Farizal Marlias celebrates their progress to the AFF Championship final at Thailand's expense. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Malaysia, who last qualified for the final in 2014 before losing to the Thais, will face either Vietnam or the Philippines in a two-legged final on Dec 11 and 15.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysia survive late drama to reach AFF final'. Print Edition | Subscribe