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A thrilling 2nd Leg Final of the 2014 AFF Championship ended with a 3-2 win for Malaysia against Thailand at Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur. However, the result wasn’t enough for the Malayan Tigers to turn the table as they were beaten 0-2 in the 1st Leg. So, Thailand claimed their 4th South East Asian title after a 12-year long wait by winning 4-3 on aggregate. The Thais now have the same number of title as Singapore in the sub-continent. As for Kiatisak ‘Zico’ Senamuang, he became the first person in the whole world to win the title as player and as coach.

The match itself was a roller-coaster ride. Malaysia actually had themselves ahead of Thailand up until the 80th minute. A 3-goal lead would have been enough for Dollah Saleh’s crew to put their hands on the trophy. But The War Elephants struck back in the last 10 minutes of the game with a double, leaving most people in Bukit Jalil sighed. Nonetheless, kudos for Safiq Rahmi & co. for their motivation and persistence during the match.

First Half
Malaysia took the steering wheel at the earliest part of the match. They played a direct ball and immediately push up to apply pressure towards Thai defense. On the 5th minute, Azamuddin found a space on the right and sent the ball to Norshahrul inside the box. Suttinun Phukhom anticipated the pass and tried to intercept, while Norshahrul’s left food reached out trying to block the interception. The contact brought down both players and out-of-nowhere, the referee pointed to the spot signaling penalty for Malaysia. The Thais protested the decision but it went unchanged. Safiq Rahim simply deceived Kawin and scored his 5th goal of the tournament which was also his 4th from the spot. Malaysia 1, Thailand 0.

The early goal boosted up Malaysians’ confidence and spirit. It brought Azamuddin too steamed-up as he got injured while challenging Kawin on a 60-40 ball for the Thai keeper. That was Azamuddin’s last action of the match and Safee came up to replace him later on. The change surely sharpened Malaysian attack up front.

On the other hand, Thailand was alerted by that goal and eventually started to attack. In the 12th minute, Perapat fired a long-range effort which struck Farizal’s up-right and went out. It was the cue that the game is on for both teams.

For the most part of the half, Malaysia played the intimidation game towards the young Thai side. Rough tackles and hard challenges were delivered to threaten Thailand both physically and psychologically. The strategy was also applied to repress Thai aggressiveness. In total, Malaysian players committed 11 fouls and received 3 yellow cards in the half.

In the 33rd minute, Thailand found an opening on the left side of Malaysian defense. Chanathip sent a through pass to Weerawatnodom who then put a low cross in front of Farizal’s goal. Adisak failed to connect and the ball went towards an unmarked Kroekrit. Lucky for Malaysia, Kroekrit’s left footed shot missed the target.

The last 10 minutes of the half saw Malaysia pushing forward. They tried to break Thai defense from both flanks. At the 40th minute, Safiq penetrated Thai penalty box from the right and sent the ball to Norshahrul in the middle. As the Malaysian no. 9 pulled the trigger, Sarach was quick to close the angle and bumped the shot away from Kawin’s goal.

Malaysia kept on banging the Thai defense up until the stoppage time and finally came up positive. Norshahrul put up a high cross from the right. Kawin miscalculated the cross as he chased the ball for nothing. Indra Putra played his experience card against Weerawatnodom on an air battle and won the duel. Indra’s header bounced to the ground and comfortably landed inside the net. The goal equalized the aggregate and brought Bukit Jalil explodes with joy -including the Prime Minister himself. The referee then ended the first half with Malaysia 2, Thailand 0.

Second Half
At this point, both teams realized that another goal would be very important for the outcome of the match. Malaysia needed one to get ahead on aggregate, while Thailand had the same need to exploit the away goal rule. Thailand took the early initiative in search of the need. In the 48th minute, Chanathip sent an incisive through pass towards Kroekrit right in front of Malaysia’s box. The Thai attacking midfielder had to make a pulling step to avoid Kunanlan’s charge. Still and all, Kunanlan managed to block Kroekrit’s shot on a quick exchange.

Kiatisak must have made his own version of “hairdryer treatment” towards his players during the half time talk. The Thais gained back their calm and confidence and started what they do best throughout the tournament. A couple of half chances were made, although none of them changed their scoreboard number at the first 10 minutes of the half. Malaysia, on the other hand, seemed to have grown a little bit comfortable with the ongoing result.

Nevertheless, Malaysia turned out to be the first to get ahead. Norshahrul found a break in front of Thailand’s penalty box following a one-touch pass from Safee. This time, Phukhom brought Norshahrul down with shoulder blitz. Safiq stepped up to take the free kick as he aimed for his 6th goal in the tournament. He then fired a beautiful dipping curl over the wall. In fact, the ball went between Tanaboon and Phukhom’s heads before it busted Kawin’s net for the third time. A world class goal brought the Malayan Tigers up 3-2 on aggregate in the 58th minute. Bukit Jalil went crazy of excitement.

Malaysia just had to cling on the result to be the champion of the tournament. As they went through the agenda, they had to replace Afif and Indra as the both 30-somethings left the pitch due to injuries. Muslim Ahmad replaced Afif in the 69th minute, and Gary Robbat replaced Indra in the 79th minute.

When the match entered its last 10 minutes, Malaysia opted to play the “park the bus” strategy. However, as the bus was pulled over and about to be parked, Thailand found a way in. Norshahrul who was practically everywhere during the match brought down Sarach with a nasty pull right in front of his own penalty’s box, putting up an ideal distance for a free-kick shot for the Thais.

As the referee signaled the free kick to be taken, Kroekrit pulled a dummy run which successfully distracted the Malaysian defense. Sarach then fired an out-swinging shot which Farizal could only desperately parry back to the playing area. Charyl was quick to get the rebound ahead of any Malaysian players and put the ball through Farizal’s legs. Malaysia 3, Thailand 1, at the 82nd minute.

The goal put Thailand ahead on away goal and called a Malaysian all-out attack. The strategy left a big hole on Malaysian defense and the Thais immediately made the full of it. In the 87th minute, Sarawut made a run through the right side and passed the ball to Adisak, who lured 2 Malaysian players and opened up a space for Chanathip in the middle. Without further ado, Adisak sent the ball to Chanathip, who, at this point, had 2 options of going for glory or pass the ball to an unmarked Kroekrit on his left. Messi J chose the first option and delivered it with a bang. A hard left-footed shot busted Farizal’s net and put the score line back in favor of Thailand on aggregate.

Malaysia realized that they need some kind of miracle to score another 2 goals in less than 5 minutes. The situation have made them frustrated as the stadium silenced and Safee and Yahya shot a desperate long range efforts which weren’t a problem for Kawin. The referee blew the final whistle with Full Time score: Malaysia 3-2 Thailand.

Malaysia:
1. Farizal; 16. Kunanlan, 12. Shukor, 2. Afif (24. Muslim 69′), 21. Zubir; 19. Azamuddin (10. Safee 14′), 8. Safiq, 14. Badhri, 17. Amri; 13. Indra Putra (15. Gary Robbat 79′); 9. Norshahrul.

Thailand:
1. Kawin; 13. Weerawatnodom, 5. Phukhom, 17. Tanaboon, 2. Perapat; 6. Sarach, 12. Prakit (14. Sarawut 67′); 7. Charyl, 18. Chanathip, 4. Kroekrit (19. Adul 87′); 9. Adisak.

***

1 Thailand-Malaysia

Even though they did not win the championship, Malaysia have successfully shown their true quality in the match. They overcame their resignation of the fact that they were beaten 0-2 by the same side in the previous 1st leg final, and came up with 3 goals. Involuntary changes of player in the critical minutes could have caused them lose their grasp. The change somehow reset the team’s chemistry and forced the players to re-adapt. Thailand, on the other hand, successfully turned the outcome of the match on the aforementioned critical minutes. It wasn’t a coincident that 5 out of the 12 goals scored by the Thais prior to the match were scored after the 80th minute.

The 48%-52% ball possession percentage showed that the match was a tight one. To justify the statement, both teams also recorded the same number of shots on target (6). But, in terms of discipline, Malaysia was no better than Thailand. Harsh playing style by Malaysia made Thailand suffered 19 fouls. The referee also had to award 6 different Malaysian players yellow card.

Though he didn’t score, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha‘s role was massive enough to make him Man of the Match. He recorded 24 successful passes with 82.75% accuracy. He also made 2 successful tackles with 100% success rate. 4 out of 5 goals of the match had his name on it. He was the party who was fouled before Safiq’s 2 goals, he assisted Indra’s goal, and he committed the foul which ended up with Charyl’s goal.

Thailand’s triumph pointed out their success on home-grown youth development. Putting a fresh-young coach in charge of fresh-young players came up with positive results. The title was a mere cherry-on-top for these bright spirited youngsters. How they play has shown their level of quality, while how they cope under critical situation will surely bring a major influence for themselves in the future. Congratulations, Thailand!

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The first leg of the 2014 AFF Championship Final ended with a 2-0 win for the Thais. Playing in front of capacity crowd of Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok, Kiatisak ‘Zico’ Senamuang’s crew overcame Malaysia with a couple of goals from Charyl Chappuis and Kroekrit Thawikan. The result brought Thailand closer to their fourth ASEAN title. However, The War Elephants still have to travel to Kuala Lumpur for the second leg before they can lift the trophy.

First Half
For the first time in the tournament, Adisak Kraisorn got the chance to play as starter. He played as lone striker with Chanathip Songkrasin and Charyl as supports. The visitors, Malaysia, put up the same team who trashed Vietnam in Hanoi prior to the final, with Norshahrul Talaha and Indra Putra Mahyuddin upfront. The match itself showcased a classic youngsters (Thailand) against experienced (Malaysia).

Malaysia came to Bangkok not for a pity result. At least they showed struggle to bring something back to Kuala Lumpur for the second leg. They won the first shot on goal when Amri Yahya headed Safiq Rahim’s cross inside Thai’s box. The header comfortably landed in Kawin’s grasp with no difficulties for the Thai keeper.

The host replied with another inside-the-box chance right after Yahya’s. With a well-crafted passing game involving Charyl, Weerawatnodom and Mongkol, the latter-mentioned player blasted the shot over Farizal Marlias’ goal.

On the 6th minute, Malaysia got another opportunity to score. Following a missed pass from Thai player, Safiq sent a long pass which was connected by Indra with a first time lob towards Norshahrul. On a breakaway, the Malaysian no. 9 decided to go for glory with a half-volley outside the box, which forced Kawin to make a remarkable save.

Malaysia put up a thick wall in midfield to keep Thailand at bay. The strategy seemed to be working quite successfully as the Thais resorted to fire shots from outside the box. In fact, Thailand barely got their first shot on goal on the 30th minute from Sarach Yooyen’s long-range effort, which was saved by Farizal.

At the end of the half, Adisak broke free from Malaysian defense following Fahdli Shas’ error and found himself in a 1-on-1 situation with Farizal. Luckily, the Farizal was quick to close Adisak’s shooting angle and made a great save as he kept the score line goalless at 1st half.

Second Half
No changes made by both coaches at the start of the second half. Malaysia kept on playing a long-high ball up front hoping to overpower Thai defense with 3 experienced player: Norshahrul, Amri Yahya, Indra Putra. Thailand, on the other hand, adjusted their attacking focus to the flanks.

First chance of the 2nd half for Thailand came on the 54th minute. Overlapping Weerawatnodom on the left side of Malaysian defense placed a cut back pass towards an unmarked Mongkol inside the box. Unfortunately, Mongkol’s first time shot went higher than Farizal’s crossbar.

Just about a minute later, Adisak roamed free inside Malaysian penalty box. Once again, Weerawatnodom was involved. A long throw from the Thai right back caught Fadhli Shas and Shukor Adan off guard. Luckily for them, Adisak put too much power on his half-volley, which ended with the ball hitting the sponsor’s car on the gravel instead of blasting Farizal’s net.

The night wasn’t Adisak’s night after all as he failed to score on another opportunity. Receiving Mongkol’s first touch pass on the left side inside the Malaysian box, Adisak, who scored a double against the same side in the Group Stage on Nov 26, fired a weak shot which was caught by Farizal. Right after that, Malaysia turned the table and threatened Thai defense. Amri Yahya tried to pull another daisycutter shot goal towards Kawin, but the Thai keeper/captain anticipated it with a save.

On the 70th minute, Chanathip fired a good long range shot which Farizal could only parry. Weerawatnodom was the quickest to reach the rebound and sent a first-time cut back pass towards Adisak. With a clever body faint, Adisak deceived Fahdli and forced the Malaysian back to bring down the Thai striker inside the box. Penalty for Thailand.

Charyl Chappuis who scored the decisive penalty on the win over Singapore in Thai’s first match of the competition, stepped up and conversed the spot kick convincingly. Thailand 1, Malaysia 0.

Dollah Salleh responded to the situation by making a double change: Safee Sali and Baddrol Bakhtiar brought in to replace Amri Yahya and Badhri Radzi on the 75th minute. Not long after his introduction, Baddrol tested Kawin with a 35m long-range, which was easily secured by the Thai keeper.

A single goal wasn’t enough for the Thais. They still tried to score another while playing with full discipline during defense. Their struggle and patience came up positive on the 86th minute. A combination of passes on the left wing between Kroekrit and Prakit released Chanathip running with his quick legs towards Malaysian box. Chanathip then boost up his speed to beat Fahdil Shas and sent the ball to Kroekrit in the middle. Kroekrit made no mistake and netted his 3rd goal in 2 consecutive matches. Thailand 2, Malaysia 0.

The goal lifted Thais’ confidence and put the Malaysians on their knees. In the 88th minute, the Thais pulled a tiqui-taca style and produced approximately 27 successful passes before Charyl fired the ball wide. The play was quite of an entertainment for the viewers.

With the time ran out, Safiq & co. tried their best to put one through Thai’s defence. They got their last chance of the game in the depths of injury time when Baddrol sent the ball across to Indra Putra, who then placed a dipping header towards the upright corner of Kawin’s goal. But Kawin managed to keep the goal clean on his watch by making a fingertip save.

The match ended with a 2-0 score line for Thailand.

Thailand: 1. Kawin; 13. Weerawatnodom, 5 Phukhom, 17. Tanaboon, 2. Perapat; 7. Charyl, 6. Sarach (19. Adul 90′+1′; 11 Mongkol (12. Prakit 68′), 18. Chanathip, 4. Kroekrit; 9. Adisak.

Malaysia: 1. Farizal; 16. Kunanlan, 12. Shukor, 27. Fadhli, 21. Zubir; 19. Azamuddin, 8. Safiq, 14. Badhri (23. Baddrol 75′), 17. Amri (10. Safee 75′); 13. Indra Putra; 9. Norshahrul (18. Manaf 88′).

***

1 Thailand-Malaysia

It wasn’t a surprise that the Thais were on the upper hand throughout the match. Home advantage and 0 defeat, only conceded 3 goals and already scored 10 surely put The War Elephants as favorites. They proved their quality by showcasing a fast structured play. Malaysia, on the other hand, showed that they were looking for a beneficial result for the 2nd leg. The plan fell through as they failed to compose a strong discipline stronghold on their defense.

Thai’s domination is shown by their 59% ball possession over Malaysia. The hosts completed 325 passes with 76% accuracy, better than the visitors’ with 187 success passes and 64% accuracy. 19 shots were fired by Thailand players throughout the match, in which 7 of them shot towards Farizal Marlias’ goal and produced 2 goals. Malaysia only made 8 shots, but 5 of them were heading towards goal.

Malaysians rough play produced more fouls than the number of successful tackles. 22 fouls were committed by the Malaysians and only 19 successful tackles were made. The record is followed by 2 yellow cards for Amri Yahya and Indra Putra. Meanwhile, Thailand only committed 8 fouls but managed to make 21 successful tackles.

Chanathip Songkrasin maybe failed to score in the match, but his contribution was immense. The player with the nickname ‘Messi Jay’ assisted Thai’s second goal and produced 44 successful passes with 84.6% accuracy. He also successfully made 4 dribble attempts with 66.6% success rate. He showed a pretty good composure while facing the experienced Safiq Rahim and Shukor Adan. He surely is the Man of the Match.

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Tim Nasional (TimNas) Indonesia harus kembali gagal memenuhi ambisi untuk menjadi yang terbaik di kejuaraan AFF (ASEAN Football Federation). Di dua gelaran berturut-turut, AFF 2012 dan AFF 2014, Skuat Garuda gagal lolos dari fase penyisihan grup. Kegagalan ini menjadi catatan buruk bagi Indonesia yang pada dekade pertama di millennium ketiga ini mampu menjadi finalis sebanyak 4 kali (2000, 2002, 2004 dan 2010).

Pada Piala AFF 2012, Raphael Maitimo dkk. hanya mendapat 4 poin dan menempati peringkat ketiga Grup B, yang kala itu diselenggarakan di Malaysia. Di edisi 2014 ini, Tim Merah Putih kembali hanya meraih 4 poin dari 3 laga, dan lagi-lagi menempati peringkat ketiga dibawah tuan rumah Vietnam dan Filipina. Dari sisi peringkat, tidak ada peningkatan antara Piala AFF 2012 dengan Piala AFF 2014. Namun, dilihat secara statistik, terdapat sejumlah pencapaian yang berbeda dalam hal performa dan permainan para punggawa Skuat Garuda. Berikut kami sajikan perbandingan statistik performa TimNas Indonesia di Piala AFF 2012 dan Piala AFF 2014.

Indonesian National Team Performance Chart – AFF Championships 2012 & 2014

tabel aff 2012 - aff 2014

Dari perbandingan diatas, yang menarik untuk dibahas adalah hubungan antara jumlah tembakan tepat sasaran (shots on target) dengan gol yang dihasilkan . Di AFF 2012, TimNas Indonesia tercatat melakukan 15 kali tembakan tepat sasaran dan hanya menghasilkan 3 gol dari 3 pertandingan. Catatan tersebut menghasilkan angka konversi peluang menjadi gol TimNas saat itu hanya 20%, atau bisa dikatakan dari setiap 5 kali tembakan ke arah gawang, Indonesia hanya bisa menghasilkan 1 gol.

Sedangkan di Piala AFF 2014, Indonesia melakukan tembakan tepat sasaran sebanyak 9 kali dari 3 pertandingan, lebih sedikit jika dibandingkan dengan jumlah di tahun 2012. Namun, 7 dari 9 tembakan tersebut berbuah gol untuk Tim Merah Putih, sehingga menghasilkan angka tingkat konversi peluang menjadi gol Indonesia di AFF 2014 kali ini cukup tinggi, yaitu 77,78%.

Secara statistik, aksi-aksi yang lain tidak tampak perbedaan yang cukup mencolok. Semoga dengan hasil ini, TimNas kita bisa berbenah sehingga bisa menyajikan permainan dan pencapaian yang lebih baik lagi di kompetisi-kompetisi berikutnya.

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