Laos’s Khampheng Sayavutthi (L) vies with Malaysia’s Aidil Zafuan Radzak in their AFF Suzuki Cup match in Kuala Lumpur. Photograph: Reuters
The 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup finals plays the group stage’s last round this weekend with all eight teams still in with a chance of making the semi-finals.
The Philippines, who stunned 2008 champions Vietnam with a 1-0 win on Tuesday, will attempt to progress to the knockout phase of the regional biennial event for the second edition running with a win over Myanmar in their 8:20pm kickoff today at the Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok.
Across town at the Rajamangala Stadium, Group A hosts Thailand will take on Vietnam safe in the knowledge that their advance is already assured.
Three-time winners Thailand come off a 4-0 thrashing of Myanmar on Tuesday to top the four-team group table with six points, while the Philippines currently occupy the other qualification place with three points.
Vietnam and Myanmar are nursing a single point apiece, with the former holding a three-goal advantage in goal difference.
Both will need to win today and hope the other result goes their way to keep their Cup dreams alive.
Over in Group B, playing out in Kuala Lumpur, 2010 runners-up Indonesia are sitting pretty at the summit with four points after beating Singapore 1-0 on Wednesday night.
Singapore, who are chasing a record fourth title after last lifting the trophy in 2007, lie in second on three points.
Reigning champions Malaysia also have three points but are two goals behind in goal difference to the Lions.
Laos, who qualified for the finals behind Myanmar, have an extreme outside chance of stepping up to the semis via one of three unlikely outcomes.
Victory over Singapore in their match tomorrow at 7:45pm at the Shah Alam Stadium will need to be coupled with a win for Indonesia against Malaysia in their game at the same time at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
If Indonesia and Malaysia were to draw, Laos would need a victory margin against Singapore of four goals, whereas if Malaysia grabbed all three points Laos would need to win and finish with a better goal difference than Indonesia.
The opening legs of the two-leg semi-finals are slated for the following weekend with return legs playing four days later.
Venues will be determined by the participating nations.
The final, also involving home and away legs, is set for December 19 and 22.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Riley at [email protected]