Holders Thailand reached the AFF Suzuki Cup final after hammering Burma 4-0 in the semifinal second leg at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok for a 6-0 win on aggregate on Thursday night.
Sarawut Masuk opened the floodgates after 33 minutes with his third goal of the campaign.
Theerathon Bunmathan, Sirod Chatthong and Chanathip Songkrasin added three more goals in the second half. Four-time champions Thailand will now meet Indonesia, who stunned Vietnam in the other semifinal, in the final to be played over two legs.
Kiatisak Senamuang’s men will travel to Indonesia in the first leg on 14 December and host Alfred Riedl’s men in the second leg on 18 December.
Thailand is chasing a record fifth ASEAN crown while Indonesia will be trying to win their first, having lost in the finals four times in the biennial tournament between 2000 and 2010. Indonesia lost 4-2 to Thailand in their opening match in the first round of the 2016 tournament in Manila but has since improved to reach the final of the Southeast Asian championship.
At Rajamangala National Stadium, Burma got off to a lively start and had a couple of chances but failed to send the ball past Thailand goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan. Thailand soon found their rhythm and dominated for long periods before Sarawut’s header beat Burmese goalkeeper Kyaw Zin Phyo.
The visitors started the second half strongly and forced Kawin to make a fine save. Thailand got their second goal when Sarawut was apparently kicked by Phyo Ko Ko Thien in the area and Theerathon made no mistake from the resulting penalty. Burma coach Gerd Zeise was sent to the stands for his fierce complaint about the penalty.
Substitute Sirod scored his first international goal to make it 3-0 in the 76th minute and “Messi Jay” Chanathip completed the rout with seven minutes to go to the delight of his girlfriend, actress “May” Pitchanat Sakhakorn.
On Wednesday, Indonesia’s fairytale run continued in Hanoi when they managed a 2-2 draw with Vietnam after extra time in their semifinal second leg for a 4-3 win on aggregate.