Watching the ASEAN Football Champtionship — From Pitch Level

Last Sunday night A and I had the good fortune to attend the final of the biennial ASEAN football championship between Thailand and Singapore here at Bangkok’s Supachalasai Stadium. And our perspective was unique: we were in the media gallery down at pitch level, just behind the goal.

The sound of 40,000 Thai supporters cheering on their side (pictured above) was overwhelming. Sadly, Thailand lost by an aggregate score of 3-2 in a here-and-away match; the first leg, in Singapore, was marred by a refereeing controversy that caused the Thai squad to walk off the field for 15 minutes in protest. On Sunday evening, Thailand scored a goal in the first half, drawing even on aggregate, but then Singapore pulled one back late in the game to defend their crown.

Here was the vantage from the field.

The atmosphere was festive; this supporter’s costume featured a tank — a humorous reference to the September military coup.

More fans.

The crowd at halftime, as seen from the pitch.

A interviewed some Singapore supporters.

And so did PJ Roberts, of the ESPN Star Sports highlights show Nokia Football Crazy.

The Singapore squad was presented with the trophy amid a burst of confetti.

Though the match was hard-fought and tempers flared on the field at times, the Thai supporters treated the small contingent of Singapore fans with respect and generally lost gracefully.

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