Thailand struck two late goals, including a penalty, to snatch a 2-0 first-leg home win over Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup final on Wednesday.
It was just reward for the hosts' relentless pressure when they broke the deadlock with 18 minutes remaining through a Charyl Chappuis spot-kick, before Kroekrit Taweekarn sealed the victory with a cool finish four minutes from time.
Thailand were always in control in an action-packed first half, dangerous on the break but nervous in front of goal, with Mongkol Thosakrai blasting over the bar after four minutes and Kroekrit finding the side netting moments later.
They piled on the pressure in the second half at the Rajamangala Stadium, and finally got their break after 72 minutes when Adisak Kraisorn was pulled down in the box and Charyl stepped up to convert the penalty.
Kroekrit doubled the advantage in the dying moments, latching on to Chanathip Songkrasin's cross inside the area to leave Malaysia with a mountain to climb in the second leg at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Saturday.