Thailand made their fifth appearance in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 when they beat Indonesia 2-1 in the second leg semi finals for an aggregate 3-1 victory here at Stadium Rajamangala.

But the win was not an easy walk on the park for the Thais where they had to come back from being a goal down in the first half before scoring twice after the break for the well-deserved victory. The win for Thailand came at a price where they will have to play the first leg final on 24 Dec 2008 at the same venue of the Stadium Rajamangala without the influential Suchao Nutnum, who picked up his second yellow card in the game tonight.

It was Indonesia who started stronger on the night when they opted to put striker Bambang Pamungkas on the bench and utilized more presence at the centre of the park. The early pressure saw Thailand back pedaling for much of the first quarter of an hour as Isnan Ali sent in a swerving freekick which was cleared by Suree Sukha. And while a header from Talaohu Abdul Mushafry came off Nataporn Phanrit in the eighth minute, there was no stopping Indonesia from taking the lead barely a minute later.

A quickly taken corner from Ismed Sofyan allowed defender Nova Arianto to put the ball back into the net past a rooted Thai keeper Kittisak Rawangpa as the aggregate stood at 1-1. But Thailand was just not playing as well as they should in front of close to 40,000 fans where their best chance in the before the break came in the 26th minute when Teerathep Winothai's attempt came off the crossbar.

The second half saw Indonesia sticking to their defensive plan as Thailand's frustration grew, so did tackles and the pushing and shoving which resulted in a minor altercation at the hour mark between Thai captain Datsakorn Thonglao and Indonesia midfielder Syamsul Bachri. Thailand upped the pressure and in the 64th minute, a cross from Suree saw Teerasil Dangda jumping high for the header which unfortunately went straight to Indonesian custodian Markus Harison.

But the goal finally came in for the Thais in the 72nd minute when off a Teerasil cross, Teerathep blasted in the equalizer from the far post to put Thailand on equal terms on the night but on a 2-1 advantage on aggregate. Two minutes to the end, substitute Ronnachai Rangsiyo made it a 2-1 win for the Thais in what was their first home game in Bangkok when he stabbed home a melee.


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