Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Fast facts from previous finals

The ninth AFF Suzuki Cup final brings together the two most successful teams in the region's leading competition, Thailand and Singapore, who have each won the competition three times previously.

Ahead of the showdown between the War Elephants and the Lions, has uncovered some interesting facts about past Asean Football Championship finals.

  • The first four finals from 1996 to 2002 were played as single championship matches at a pre-determined venue. Thailand were hugely successful in that format, winning in Singapore in 1996, in Bangkok in 2000 and in Jakarta in 2002. However, they have not lifted the title since it became a two-legged affair in 2004.

  • The teams that have scored the first goal in all of the previous finals have always gone on to win the title. Since the finals went to a two-leg format, the teams that have won the first leg have always held on in the return match to lift the trophy.

  • Only three teams – Thailand in 2000, Singapore in 2004 and Vietnam in 2008 – have lifted the Asean Football Championship trophy in front of their own fans. The first final in 1996 between Thailand and Malaysia was played on neutral ground in Singapore but in the other four finals, Vietnam (1998), Indonesia (2002 and 2010) and Thailand (2007) watched their opponents claim the title on their home grounds.

  • Malaysia became the first team to lift the title despite losing a match in the final after they went down 2-1 to Indonesia in the second leg in Jakarta in 2010. They had won the first leg 3-0 in Kuala Lumpur to take the tie 4-2 on aggregate.

  • Worrawoot Srimaka is the only player to net a hat-trick in a final. The Thai striker netted his side’s first three goals in the 4-1 victory over Indonesia in 2000, which remains the most decisive win in an Asean Football Championship final.

  • Safee Sali also netted three against Indonesia in the 2010 final but the Malaysian striker split his goals over two matches with two in the first leg in Kuala Lumpur and one in the return match in Jakarta.

  • Safee is one of four players to have scored in both legs of the final since the change of format in 2004. The others are Agu Casmir (Singapore, 2004), Pipat Thonkanya (Thailand, 2007) and Le Cong Vinh (Vietnam, 2008).

  • Singapore striker Khairul Amri is the only player who has scored in two separate finals. He scored Singapore’s second in the 3-1 win over Indonesia in the first leg in 2004 and fired in the decisive goal in the 3-2 aggregate victory over Thailand in 2007.

  • Daniel Bennett’s third-minute strike for Singapore against Indonesia in the first leg of the 2004 final is the fastest goal in the final while Le Cong Vinh’s dramatic winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Vietnam against Thailand in the second leg in 2008 is the latest.

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