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AFF Cup: A dramatic playground for Asian football clubs
In this post, you will learn about the AFF Cup, one of the most famous and anticipated football competitions in Asian football. Keep reading to learn more about the AFF Cup!
Some fundamentals about the AFF Cup
Before heading to the current season of the AFF Cup, let’s grab some basic information about this football competition.
What is the AFF Cup?
The AFF Cup, or officially known as the ASEAN Football Federation Championship, or AFF Championship is a biennial football competition held by AFF for men’s national teams from Southeast Asia. Since 2008, the competition has been called AFF Suzuki Cup due to the sponsorship from a Japanese auto company.
AFF Cup trophy
The AFF Cup was founded in 1996 as the Tiger Cup. It was because the competition was first sponsored by a Tiger Beer-production company from Singapore.
How does the AFF Cup work?
The AFF Cup has changed its format several times since the inception of the competition. Since 2018, a new format has been applied and used until now. Accordingly, 10 qualified teams (based on their performances from the last two seasons) will enter the final tournament.
There were actually 11 teams started, but only the nine highest-ranked teams automatically qualify for the competition proper, while the 10th and 11th teams have to compete over two legs to gain the last spot.
These 10 qualified teams will be divided into two groups of fives (A and B) in the group stage due to a draw. In each group, the single round-robin format is applied. Each team in each group will play a total of four matches, including two home and two away games. The top two teams in each group will advance to the semi-finals.
The knockout phase starts with the semi-finals, then the finals. All are played over two legs.
Performances by country
2020 AFF Suzuki Cup
The 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup was postponed due to the strong impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was initially scheduled to last from 23 November to 31 December 2020. But in fact, the competition took place in 2021, running from 5 December 2021 to 1 January 2022.
Which teams qualified for the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup?
Group stage tables
Group A table
Group B table
Based on the result of the group stage, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam advanced to the knockout phase. The table-leading team from one group would be paired with the runner-up of the other group. So Singapore met Indonesia, and Vietnam competed with Thailand.
In the first leg, the host team and Indonesia ended up with a 1-1 draw, while Vietnam lost to Thailand with a 0-2 score. In the second leg, Singapore lost to Indonesia by 2-4, and their final result after two legs was 3-5, helping Indonesia get their steps to the final. On the other hand, Vietnam and Thailand both kept their sheets clean with a goalless draw. But with a loss in the first leg, Vietnam couldn’t qualify for the final.
Vietnam-the previous champion, was eliminated in the semi-final due to the loss to Thailand
The first leg of the final was completed with a big win for Thailand. Indonesia conceded four goals and couldn’t break the net of Thailand. Chanathip from the Thai national football team scored a brace in this leg in the second and 52nd minutes. The other two goals from Supachok and Bordin in the 67th and 83rd minutes respectively.
Indonesia vs Thailand in the AFF Cup final's first leg
In the second leg that took place at the beginning of January 2022, Indonesia had better performance and ended up with a 2-2 draw. Adisak and Sarach were two players who scored for Thailand, and Indonesia got two goals thanks to Kambuaya and Egy.
The aggregate result was 6-2 with Thailand being crowned the champion. This became their sixth AFF Cup title since the inception of the tournament, consolidating their top position in the history of the AFF Cup.
Thailand won the 2020 AFF Cup