Singapore sealed a record-breaking fourth AFF Suzuki Cup despite a 1-0 defeat to Thailand in the second leg of the final in Bangkok.
The Thais went ahead through Kirati Keowsombut’s header, but a heroic rearguard from the visitors saw them hold on to a 3-2 victory on aggregate.
Supported by the vociferous crowd at the Supachalasai Stadium, Winfried Schafer’s men started with two strikers upfront as they sought to overturn the 3-1 first-leg deficit.
The home side should have taken the lead in the 14th minute, but the unmarked Jakkapan Pornsai headed against the bar after goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud fumbled a corner.
Playmaker Datsakorn Thonglao then curled a 20-yard free-kick narrowly over the bar and Jakkapan saw a couple of long-range efforts deflected wide, as the Thais laid siege on the Singapore goal.
Full-backs Piyaphon Buntao and Theerathon Bunmathan overlapped down their flanks almost at will as the visitors struggled to keep possession, although the Thais found Baihakki Khaizan and Safuwan Baharudin in commanding form at the back.
Thailand finally broke the deadlock right before half-time when striker Kirati rose highest to head home a corner and give his side a deserved lead.
Singapore had a good opportunity to equalize in the 56th minute when Jakkapan gave the ball away near his area, but some last-ditch defending prevented Aleksandar Duric from converting Shahril Ishak’s cross.
Kirati then skied his effort with only Izwan to beat, as the game started to become a more even affair.
Deep in injury time, centre-back Safuwan Baharudin threw himself at Apipoo Sunthornpanavej’s shot to deflect it wide as Singapore hung on to become champions of Southeast Asia again.
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