The first bracket of this year’s AFF Suzuki Cup Semifinals saw the Harimau Malaya of Malaysia stunning the War Elephants of Thailand into a 2-2 draw on their home turf to secure a spot in the finals though the away goals system.
An own goal in the 21st minute by Irfan Zakaria gave the home side the dream start in their quest to win 3 straight championships in the regional football fest, 1-nil for Thailand. But an epic comeback from the away squad are bound to happen, beginning from the 28th minute when Muhammad Safari tied the match at 1-1 with a vicious strike.
On the 63rd minute, the Thais reclaim the lead with Pansa Hemviboon scoring and beating Mohd Marlias.
Once again, their Malaysian counterparts was quick to respond as Norshahrul Idlan scored another equalizer to virtually put his nation in the Finals by way of Away-Goal rule implemented in the tournament.
And then the most dramatic injury time of the tournament came in, where Muhammad Safari found himself on the other side of the fence by giving up a penalty to the defending champions after the referee spotted him with a hand ball inside the box, to the delight of the team and fans inside the Rajamangala Stadium.
With a spot in the promise land and a chance to continue the reign over South East Asia football, Thailand’s Adisak Kraisorn stepped into the spot to take the penalty kick but missed the opportunity when he his shot was above the goal which formally made the entry of Tigers back in the finale after winning it in 2010.
They await the winner of tonight’s game between Vietnam and Philippines.