Kuala Lumpur, July 15: Thailand defended their title as they came from behind to beat Malaysia Yellow 2-1 in the final of the 4th edition of the Yamaha ASEAN Cup Under-13 tournament at the Petaling Jaya Stadium here Sunday.
Thailand, who had won the Cup in 2011 at home, became the first team to retain the title.
With the defeat Malaysia also became the first host not to win the title since it was inaugurated in 2008 in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Indonesia won in 2010 when the tournament was held in Jakarta. Last year, Thailand took the title in Muang Thong Thani.
Malaysia’s previous best in the tournament was also finishing runners-up in 2008 when it lost to Vietnam in the final. Last year Malaysia failed to get past the preliminary rounds.
There was more joy for Thailand when striker Chokanan Samai-in was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Striker Muhammad Nurfais Johari earned some consolation for Malaysia Yellow when he walked away with the top scorer’s award with four goals.
Malaysia Yellow had only themselves to blame for the defeat when they relaxed their grip on the match in the 10 minutes of play to allow Thailand score twice – with the winner coming deep into injury time – thanks to Chokanan’s speed which punished the Malaysian backline.
After receiving a through pass from Kongdech in his own half, Chokanan sped away to plant home a crisp grounder past a rooted Malaysian Yellow goalkeeper Mohammed Suhail Sofian.
Earlier in the 55th minute, Kongdech threw Thailand the lifeline with the equaliser when he earned a penalty when he was felled by Mohd Fadhil Janudin inside the box. He then scored from the spot to make up for the penalty he gave away in the 20th minute for Malaysia Yellow to take the lead.
Kongdech felled Zahril Azri Zabri inside the box and earned a yellow card for that. The Thais hotly disputed the referee’s decision in vain.
Nurfais made a mistake from the spot for his fourth goal in the tournament to send Thai keeper Patcharaphon Kaewkham the wrong way.
While the Malaysians were left in tears for letting the title slip from their grasp, it was sweet revenge for the Thais who lost to Malaysia Yellow by the same score-line in a group match.
Meanwhile, in the playoff for third place, Malaysia Blue edged Vietnam 1-0 for a memorable debut in the championships. The win made up for the disappointment of losing 1-0 to Thailand in the semi-finals.
Malaysia Blue’s winning goal came in the 54th minute when Haikal Yusri Feisal slammed the ball past a sea of legs during a melee inside the Vietnamese six-yard box.
Roll of Honour:
Runners-Up: Malaysia Yellow
Third Place: Malaysia Blue
Most Valuable Player: Chokanan Samai-in (Thailand)
Top Scorer: Muhammad Nurfais Johari (Malaysia Yellow)