2018 AFF Championship

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2018 AFF Championship
2018 AFF Suzuki Cup logo.svg
Tournament details
Dates8 November – 15 December 2018
Teams10 (from 1 sub-confederation)
Venue(s)12 (in 10 host cities)
Final positions
Champions Vietnam (2nd title)
Runners-up Malaysia
Tournament statistics
Matches played26
Goals scored80 (3.08 per match)
Attendance757,570 (29,137 per match)
Top scorer(s)Thailand Adisak Kraisorn
(8 goals)
Best player(s)Vietnam Nguyễn Quang Hải
Fair play award Malaysia

The 2018 AFF Championship was the 12th edition of the AFF Championship, the football championship of nations affiliated to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF), and the 6th under the name AFF Suzuki Cup.[1]

The final tournament ran from 8 November and ended on 15 December 2018.[2] Through the agreement between AFF and East Asian Football Federation (EAFF), the winner of the tournament will qualify for the AFF–EAFF Champions Trophy.[3]

Thailand had been the defending champions, but lost to Malaysia in the semi-finals.[4] Vietnam won the tournament by a 3–2 victory in the two-legged final against Malaysia to secure their second title,[5][6][7] and subsequently qualified to meet 2017 EAFF E-1 Football Championship winner of South Korea in the 2019 AFF–EAFF Champions Trophy.[8][9]


In March 2016, it was reported that the AFF was mulling over changes to the tournament format due to the failure to attract big crowds for matches not involving the host nation.[10] It was then confirmed by the AFF that starting with the 2018 edition, a new format would be applied. The nine highest ranked teams would automatically qualify with the 10th and 11th ranked teams playing in a two-legged qualifier. The 10 teams would be split in two groups of five and play a round robin system with each team playing two home and two away fixtures. A draw will be made to determine where the teams play while the format of the knockout round would remain unchanged.[11]


  Qualified for AFF Championship
  Failed to qualify
  Did not enter
  Not an AFF member

Nine teams were automatically qualified in the AFF Championship final tournament. Based on the 2016 AFF Championship ranking, Brunei and Timor Leste played in a home and away play offs which was conducted on 1 and 8 September 2018 with the latter securing qualification.[12] Australia, a member since 2013, did not enter the tournament.[2]

Qualified teams[edit]

Team Appearance Previous best performance
 Cambodia 7th Group stage (1996, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2016)
 Indonesia 12th Runners-up (2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2016)
 Laos 11th Group stage (1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014)
 Malaysia 12th Winners (2010)
 Myanmar 12th Fourth place (2004), Semi-finalists (2016)
 Philippines 11th Semi-finalists (2010, 2012, 2014)
 Singapore 12th Winners (1998, 2004, 2007, 2012)
 Thailand 12th Winners (1996, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016)
 Timor-Leste 2nd Group stage (2004)
 Vietnam 12th Winners (2008)


The draw for the tournament was held on 2 May 2018[13] at Hotel Mulia in Jakarta, Indonesia[14][15] with the pot placements followed each teams progress in the previous two editions.[16] At the time of the draw the identity of the national team that secured qualification was still to be determined (Timor-Leste).

Pot 1 Pot 2 Pot 3 Pot 4 Pot 5
 Thailand (2016 holders)
 Timor-Leste (Qualification winner)
Source: 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup[17]


Each team were allowed a preliminary squad of 50 players. A final squad of 23 players (three of whom must be goalkeepers) must be registered one day before the first match of the tournament.[18]


The following officials were chosen for the competition.


Assistant Referees

  • Brunei Ali Faisal Rosli
  • Brunei Raffizal Ramli
  • Cambodia Pisal Kimsy
  • Cambodia Sopheap Chi
  • China Zhou Fei
  • Indonesia Bambang Syamsudar
  • Indonesia Dinan Lazuardi
  • Indonesia Malang Nurhadi
  • Iran Mohammadreza Mansouri
  • Iran Reza Sokhandan
  • Japan Akane Yagi
  • Jordan Ahmed Al-Roalle
  • Laos Kilar Ladsavong
  • Laos Somphavanh Louanglath
  • Malaysia Arif Shamil
  • Malaysia Azman Ismail
  • Malaysia Zairul Khalil
  • Myanmar Chit Moe Aye
  • Myanmar Win Thiha
  • Myanmar Zayar Maung
  • Oman Abu Bakar Al-Amri
  • Philippines Krizmark Nanola
  • Philippines Relly Balila
  • Qatar Saoud Al-Maqaleh
  • Qatar Taleb Al-Marri
  • Singapore Abdul Hannan
  • Singapore Lim Kok Heng
  • Singapore Manoj Kalwani
  • Singapore Ronnie Koh Min Kiat
  • Thailand Komsun Khumpan
  • Thailand Pattarapong Kijsathit
  • Thailand Phubes Lekpha
  • Thailand Phulsawat Samransuk
  • Thailand Rachen Srichai
  • Thailand Thanet Chuchueun
  • Vietnam Nguyễn Trung Hậu
  • Vietnam Phạm Mạnh Long
  • Vietnam Trần Liêm Thanh
  • Vietnam Trương Đức Chiến

Fourth Officials


There are one venue for each participating countries in the tournament with each countries get two group matches played in their home stadium. Before the tournament being held, both the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) and Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) have requested AFF to allow their two home matches to be held in two different stadiums in different cities.[19][20] The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) also asked AFF to move their final group match against Cambodia to Hàng Đẫy Stadium as the match date is coincides with the opening ceremony of the Vietnam National Games that will be held in Mỹ Đình National Stadium by which the request was accepted through the AFF meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 13 September.[21][22] East Timor will play their designated "home" match against Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, while their home tie against the Philippines will be played at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium in Malaysia due to the incomplete floodlighting of the Dili Municipal Stadium.[23]

Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Vietnam Hanoi
Bukit Jalil National Stadium Kuala Lumpur Stadium Mỹ Đình National Stadium Hàng Đẫy Stadium
Capacity: 87,411 Capacity: 18,000 Capacity: 40,192 Capacity: 22,500
National Stadium Bukit Jalil 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup final.jpg My dinh stadium.jpg Sân vận động Hàng Đẫy.jpg
Indonesia Jakarta Cambodia Phnom Penh
Gelora Bung Karno Stadium Olympic Stadium
Capacity: 77,193 Capacity: 50,000
GBK Main Stadium during Athletics APG2018 (1).jpg
Singapore Kallang Thailand Bangkok
National Stadium Rajamangala Stadium
Capacity: 55,000 Capacity: 49,722
Seating at Singapore National Stadium.jpg Rajamangala Stadium Panorama.jpg
Myanmar Yangon Myanmar Mandalay Laos Vientiane Philippines Bacolod
Thuwunna Stadium Mandalarthiri Stadium New Laos National Stadium Panaad Stadium
Capacity: 32,000 Capacity: 30,000 Capacity: 25,000 Capacity: 9,825
Thuwunna Stadium.JPG Mandalarthiri Stadium.JPG Stadenat-vientiane.jpg

Group stage[edit]

Result of teams participating in 2018 AFF Championship
Key to colours in group tables
Top two placed teams advanced to the semi-finals


Ranking in each group shall be determined as follows:

  1. Greater number of points obtained in all the group matches;
  2. Goal difference in all the group matches;
  3. Greater number of goals scored in all the group matches.

If two or more teams are equal on the basis on the above three criteria, the place shall be determined as follows:

  1. Result of the direct match between the teams concerned;
  2. Kicks from the penalty mark if the teams concerned are still on the field of play;
  3. Drawing lots by the Organising Committee.

Group A[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Vietnam 4 3 1 0 8 0 +8 10 Knockout phase
2  Malaysia 4 3 0 1 7 3 +4 9
3  Myanmar 4 2 1 1 7 5 +2 7
4  Cambodia 4 1 0 3 4 9 −5 3
5  Laos 4 0 0 4 3 12 −9 0
Source: AFF

Malaysia 3–1 Laos
Zaquan Goal 15'
Norshahrul Goal 86'90+2'
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Phithack Goal 7'

Myanmar 0–0 Vietnam
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Attendance: 29,954
Cambodia 3–1 Laos
Vathanaka Goal 17'
Mony Udom Goal 35' (pen.)
Sokhpeng Goal 76'
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Somxay Goal 75'
Attendance: 25,085

Malaysia 3–0 Myanmar
Norshahrul Goal 26'
Zaquan Goal 45+3' (pen.)88'
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)

Group B[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Thailand 4 3 1 0 15 3 +12 10 Knockout phase
2  Philippines 4 2 2 0 5 3 +2 8
3  Singapore 4 2 0 2 7 5 +2 6
4  Indonesia 4 1 1 2 5 6 −1 4
5  Timor-Leste 4 0 0 4 4 19 −15 0
Source: AFF
Timor-Leste 0–7 Thailand
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Adisak Goal 3'13'31'45'50'56' (pen.)
Supachai Goal 90+1'

Indonesia 3–1 Timor-Leste
Alfath Goal 61'
Lilipaly Goal 69' (pen.)
Beto Goal 82'
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Rufino Goal 48'

Thailand 4–2 Indonesia
Korrakot Goal 38'
Pansa Goal 45+2'
Adisak Goal 65'
Pokklaw Goal 74'
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Zulfiandi Goal 29'
Fachrudin Goal 89'

Singapore 6–1 Timor-Leste
Safuwan Goal 12'19'90+2'
Ikhsan Goal 31'43'
Faris Goal 90'
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Rufino Goal 13'

Thailand 3–0 Singapore
Pansa Goal 13'
Supachai Goal 23'
Adisak Goal 90'
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Attendance: 29,763
Referee: Ahmed Al-Ali (Jordan)

Knockout phase[edit]


  Semi-finals Finals
A2  Malaysia (a) 0 2 2  
B1  Thailand 0 2 2  
    A2  Malaysia 2 0 2
  A1  Vietnam 2 1 3
B2  Philippines 1 1 2
A1  Vietnam 2 2 4  


First Leg

Second Leg
Thailand 2–2 Malaysia
Irfan Goal 21' (o.g.)
Pansa Goal 63'
Report (AFFSZ)
Report (AFF)
Syahmi Goal 28'
Norshahrul Goal 71'
Attendance: 46,157

2–2 on aggregate, Malaysia won on away goals.

Vietnam won 4–2 on aggregate.


First Leg
Second Leg

Vietnam won 3–2 on aggregate.

2018 AFF Championship best XI[edit]

The best XI team was a squad consisting of the eleven most impressive players at the tournament.[24]



2018 AFF Championship


Second title


Most Valuable Player[25] Top Scorer Award[25] Fair Play Award[25]
Vietnam Nguyễn Quang Hải Thailand Adisak Kraisorn  Malaysia


There were 80 goals scored in 26 matches, for an average of 3.08 goals per match.

8 goals

5 goals

4 goals

3 goals

2 goals

1 goal

1 own goal

Source: AFF


In the final tournament, a player was suspended for the subsequent match in the competition for either getting red card or accumulating two yellow cards in two different matches.

Player Offences Suspensions
Cambodia Hong Pheng Yellow card in Group A v Malaysia
Yellow card in Group A v Vietnam
Indonesia Putu Gede Yellow card Yellow-red card in Group B v Singapore Group B v Timor-Leste
Laos Soukaphone Vongchiengkham Yellow card in Group A v Malaysia
Yellow card in Group A v Myanmar
Group A v Cambodia
Myanmar Hlaing Bo Bo Yellow card in Group A v Vietnam
Yellow card in Group A v Malaysia
Myanmar Thein Than Win Yellow card in Group A v Cambodia
Yellow card in Group A v Laos
Group A v Vietnam
Singapore Zulqarnaen Suzliman Yellow card in Group B v Indonesia
Yellow card in Group B v Thailand
East Timor Aderito Yellow card Yellow-red card in Group B v Thailand Group B v Indonesia
East Timor Feliciano Goncalves Yellow card in Group B v Thailand
Yellow card in Group B v Indonesia
Group B v Philippines
East Timor Filomeno Yellow card in Group B v Philippines
Yellow card in Group B v Singapore
East Timor Gumario Yellow card in Group B v Thailand
Yellow card in Group B v Indonesia
Group B v Philippines

 • Player who get a card during the semifinals and final doesn't include here.

Tournament teams ranking[edit]

This table will show the ranking of teams throughout the tournament.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Final result
1  Vietnam 8 6 2 0 15 4 +11 20 Champion
2  Malaysia 8 3 3 2 11 8 +3 12 Runner-up
3  Thailand 6 3 3 0 17 5 +12 12 Semi-finalists
4  Philippines 6 2 2 2 7 7 0 8
5  Myanmar 4 2 1 1 7 5 +2 7 Eliminated in
group stage
6  Singapore 4 2 0 2 7 5 +2 6
7  Indonesia 4 1 1 2 5 6 −1 4
8  Cambodia 4 1 0 3 4 9 −5 3
9  Laos 4 0 0 4 3 12 −9 0
10  Timor-Leste 4 0 0 4 4 19 −15 0
Source: AFF


AFF Suzuki Cup colour scheme.[26]

New tournament visuals, including a logo, for the AFF Championship was unveiled for the 2018 edition during the official draw held on 2 May 2018. The ASEAN Football Federation cooperated with Lagardère Sports for the tournament's branding. Five attributes were identified that are "synonymous" to the tournament. Elements combined to form the logo are a beating heart, a goalpost and raised hands by a fan that is meant to signify "pride, loyalty, football, rivalry, and passion".[26]

In addition a colour scheme was developed for the branding. The colours devised are magenta (passion and energy), cyan (fresh beginning), green (vibrancy of a football pitch) and blue (topography of the region).[26]


The official ball for AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 is the Primero Mundo X Star,[27][28] which is sponsored by Grand Sport Group.[29]


Title sponsor Official sponsors Official supporters Regional supporters

Media coverage[edit]

2018 AFF Championship television broadcasters in Southeast Asia
Country Broadcast network Television Radio Streaming
 ASEAN (Brunei and Malaysia only) Fox International Channels Fox Sports Asia (selected matches)[38] N/A N/A
 Brunei RTB[39] RTB Aneka (selected matches)[40] N/A N/A
 Cambodia Bayon Television[41] BTV News (selected matches) N/A N/A
 Indonesia MNC Media,[42] Emtek, Kompas Gramedia Group[43] RCTI (Indonesian matches only);[44][45]
MNC Trijaya FM MeTube (Indonesian matches only);[47] Vidio (selected matches)[48]
 Laos LNTV[39] TVLao HD (Laotian matches only) N/A N/A
 Malaysia RTM[49] TV1, TV2, RTM HD Sports (all matches) N/A MyKlik (all matches)
 Myanmar MRTV,[50] Sky Net MRTV, MRTV Sports (two matches only); Sky Net Sports 1, Sky Net Sports 4, Sky Net Sports HD (all matches)[51] Myanmar Radio N/A
 Philippines TV5 Network Inc. 5 Network, AksyonTV (Philippine matches only) N/A ESPN 5 (Philippine matches only)[52][53]
 Singapore MediaCorp Okto (Singaporean matches only) N/A Toggle (Singaporean matches only)[54]
 Thailand BBTV 7HD (Thai matches only)[55] N/A Bugaboo TV (all matches);[56] LINE TV (selected matches)[57]
 East Timor Esperança Timor Oan ETO+,[40] DTV (East Timorese matches only) N/A N/A
 Vietnam VTV,[39] VOV, Next Media[58] VTV5, VTV6,[40] BĐTV, TTTV, VTC3, VTC9, K+PM, THVL2 (all matches) VOV1, VOV2, VOV3, VOV Transportation, VOV FM 89 (Vietnamese matches only) VTV Sports, vtv.vn, VTV Go, VTV Giải Trí, THVLi, On Sports, Onme, myK+ (all matches); vov.vn, VTC Now (Vietnamese matches only)
2018 AFF Championship international television broadcasters
 Hong Kong Hong Kong Cable Television i-Cable Sports (selected matches)[59] N/A i-Cable Web and Mobile (selected matches)
 United States Turner Broadcasting System N/A N/A Bleacher Report (all matches)[60][61]
N/A = Not available

Incidents and controversies[edit]

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) was fined VNĐ220 million (US$10,000) by the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) for failing to send any Vietnamese players to attend the press conference before the opening match against Laos on 8 November in Vientiane, with a warning that the penalty will be heavier if it happens again. Under AFF rules, any head coach and a starting player from each team must show up at the pre-match press conference one day prior to the match.[62] During the encounter between Myanmar and Vietnam in Group A in Yangon, the Vietnamese side was dissatisfied over the controversial decision made by Qatari referee Khamis Al-Marri after two penalty calls were denied, and another goal was ruled offside by Thai linesman Phubes Lekpha despite video replay showing the Vietnamese player was indeed onside at that time.[63][64] An argument then occurred between Burmese coach Antoine Hey and Vietnamese coach Park Hang-seo which resulted in Park not shaking hands with Hey after the match.[64][65] As a result, the availability and importance of video assistant referee (VAR) like in the recent 2018 FIFA World Cup is questioned where many believed it should have been enforced in all international football matches.[66] Prior to the group match between Malaysia and Vietnam in Hanoi, young Vietnamese football fans who waiting over a night to buy tickets are being threatened by local thugs and gangsters and forced to leave.[67] Police scouts was then being dispatched to monitor the gangs activities.[68]

In another situation, 20 Myanmar fans (including women) who were waiting for a bus in Kuala Lumpur to return after the end of the last Group A match between Malaysia and Myanmar when they were physically and verbally attacked by around 30 unidentified assailants.[69][70] Three of the Myanmar fans were injured and had to be sent to hospital for treatment. The victims decided not to make a police report for its perceived lack of effectiveness on similar cases in the past.[70] Nevertheless, the Secretary of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), Stuart Michael Ramalingam, made a visit to the victims' representative to apologise, explaining that they have ensured security measures being taken inside the stadium during the game but cannot prevent any untoward incident that happened outside the stadium, thus urging every football supporter to control their behaviour with a sportsmanship spirit.[71] Despite the apology, the Myanmar Football Federation (MFF) sent a letter to the AFF to take action against the host country since it was a repeat of similar fan violence in recent years, urging for a definite end to such violence towards any visiting fans in any future matches hosted by Malaysia, as well as for a heavy penalty to be imposed on them if such problems keep recurring.[72] As stated in their letter, the MFF wrote:

This is not the first or second time this is happening. This matter is not something only Malaysia should be apologising for. It’s not only for the fans of our country. We are doing it so that it won’t happen again in any host country when other countries come and play. The host country should take extra care and responsibility around the stadium. The hosts also need to take responsibility for the spectators’ safety. If this keeps happening in an host country, it will affect the AFF’s integrity. No one (the visitor team supporters) will come and watch the matches in the future. Thus, in order to prevent this from happening again, we sent a letter to AFF.[72]

— U Ko Ko Thein, General Secretary of the Myanmar Football Federation.

Following the complaint, FAM were given two warning notices by the AFF with a possible fine of RM21,000 (US$5,000), with the latter warning a direct result of some Malaysian supporters throwing airbomb into the stadium track after the end of the group match against Myanmar.[73] The Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) was fined Rp116 million (US$8,000) by the AFF after one of their players were found to be using a shirt with sponsor logo during their training session before the group match against Timor-Leste. Under the AFF Disciplinary Code 6.11 (Colour and Shirt Number), each team may not display the sponsor's logo either inside or outside the stadium during official training, games and at press conferences.[74] Another possible fines of Rp73 million (US$5,000) also received by the team after they forgot to put the tournament logo in their home shirt during the match against Timor-Leste.[75] Following the team's poor performance and early elimination in Group B, PSSI chairman Edy Rahmayadi blamed Indonesian media and press as the main cause for the team failure.[76] Coach Bima Sakti's accusation on the Philippines team using many "naturalised players" also angered many Filipino football supporters.[77] Philippines midfielder Stephan Schröck, a Filipino-German, also expressed his anger via social media saying “call us half-bloods all day, but once we’ve met, only half of you will be left”.[78] During the press conference of the first leg final in Malaysia, a dispute between Malaysian and Vietnamese photographer occurred when the latter overshadow Malaysian photographer sights who was standing behind to taking the photo of both teams, causing them to reacted angrily and saying "Don't stand up!" with another Malaysian photographer wearing a cap with black shirt began to approaching the Vietnamese photographer but was being calmed by the press conference staffs as well Malaysian coach Tan Cheng Hoe who urging everyone to remained calm during the tense situation before making his speech on the upcoming final matches.[79] A video footage on the incident had been circulating on YouTube with another voice also being recorded as saying "Oh no! A stupid photographer!".[80]

Many Malaysian and Vietnamese fans who cannot get even a single ticket are also disappointed over how tickets management are being conducted by both FAM and VFF.[81][82] In Malaysia, many of the fans queue up overnight and even camping outside the stadium with some are unconscious after being trampled by other fans in crowded areas.[83][84] Similar situation also occurred in Vietnam, hundreds of Vietnam People's Army (VPA) wounded veteran gathered outside the VFF's office gate to buy priority tickets for the second final match since the VFF had announced that it will sell direct tickets to those who have difficulty to buy online tickets. This resulting to chaos when they forcing to break the federation office main gate.[85] Prior to the first final match between the two countries in Malaysia, many Vietnamese fans who come to the stadium are disappointed when they are not allowed to enter despite having tickets due to what was claimed to be “over-crowding” issue by the stadium management.[86][87] One of the fans telling that an auxiliary police officer already said to her the seating area in the second tier at the stadium (directly above the visiting fans' place) is actually allocated for their fans but it seems to be already overtaken by the host fans instead.[86][88] Both sides fans also expressed their frustration over the no decision taken by Australian referee Chris Beath in two incidents in the first final game such as the scuffle between two players and another foul when the ball hitting one of the Malaysian player hand in their penalty area in the 28th minute.[89][90]


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External links[edit]