Nike Match Report: Thailand 1-0 Singapore

Singapore held on to win a record-breaking fourth AFF Suzuki Cup despite a narrow defeat in Bangkok.
Singapore sealed a record-breaking fourth Asean football crown earlier tonight despite losing 1-0 to Thailand in the second leg of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup final in Bangkok.

The Thais went ahead through Kirati Keowsombut’s header but a heroic rearguard display from the Lions saw them post a 3-2 victory on aggregate, and bring the trophy back home to Singapore.

Backed by the vociferous crowd at the Supachalasai Stadium, the Thais 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 an unmarked Jakkapan Pornsai somehow contrived to head against the bar after goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud fumbled a corner.

Playmaker Datsakorn Thonglao then curled a 20-yard freekick narrowly over the bar and Jakkapan saw a couple of long-range efforts deflected wide, as the War Elephants laid siege to 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, although the War Elephants were still having the better of the chances.

Izwan was forced into a fingertip save at his near post in the 85th minute from Chonlathit Jantakam’s shot, as the Thais piled on the pressure knowing that a 2-0 was all they needed.

Deep in time added on, centreback Safuwan Baharudin threw himself at Apipoo Sunthornpanavej’s shot to deflect it wide as Singapore hung on to become champions of Southeast Asia again.