Thailand dedicate record 5th AFF Suzuki Cup title to King Vajiralongkorn, late King Bhumibol

Thailand defeated Indonesia 3-2 on aggregate to win their fifth AFF Suzuki Cup title.

Thailand Suzuki Cup
Thailand players celebrate after winning 2016 AFF Championship Reuters

Thailand head coach Kiatisuk Senamuang revealed their record fifth AFF Suzuki Cup title will be dedicated to newly-crowned King Vajiralongkorn and late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Thais were in a state of shock when Bhumibol died aged 88 after 70 years in reign in October 2016. After the state entered a year-long mourning period, the Thai Premier League faced an early ending, the country asked for the World Cup Qualifier against Australia to be moved out.

However, the War Elephants battled hard in a bid to defend the Suzuki Cup title and they successfully did so when they defeated Indonesia 3-2 on aggregate in the final. Despite losing the first leg at Bogor 2-1, a brace from Siroch Chatthong in the second leg at the Rajamangala Stadium, much to the delight of the thousands who had gathered there, sealed the title for Senamuang's side.

Thailand saw off a stiff challenge from Indonesia, who stunned quite a few when they ended the final first leg with a one-goal advantage. The Garudas were also the only side to have beaten the eventual champions in the tournament.

Kiatisuk Senamuang
Thailand have won the title for the second time under Senamuang Reuters

The two-time Suzuki Cup-winning tactician also revealed how the first leg defeat affected the morale of his players. He also requested the fans to trust him in his effort to take the team to greater heights. Notably, Thailand are the only Asean side to have reached the final stages of the World Cup Qualifier.

"We dedicate this for the new king... we dedicate the cup for the fans and for the [late] king. The win is a new year's gift for all our fans," Senamuang said, as quoted by the tournament's official website.

"I had many comments from fans to try and help... I want to take the team forward, and I want the fans to trust me."

Indonesia head coach Alfred Riedl was all praise for his players, who according to him lost against "best team in Southeast Asia".

"We are happy we made final, we did not really believe we could make the final. They did a good job. We could not penetrate their defence," Riedl added.