Singapore striker Noh Alam Shah was the star of the ASEAN Football Championship in 2007 with his record-breaking goal exploits helping The Lions defend their title.

The uncompromising centre forward scored 10 goals, including a record seven in an 11-0 demolition of Laos at the group stage, and was deservedly named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Ironically enough, it was his young teammate Khairul Amri who notched the most important goal for Singapore, the substitute’s sublime equaliser in the second leg of the final against Thailand handing his side the trophy for the third time in six editions.

Avramovic’s unstoppable army

Singapore had edged the home leg of the final 2-1 through a hotly disputed penalty and stood firm in the return match at Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok after Pipat Thonkanya had given Thailand a first half lead.

Amri’s leveller in the 81st minute not only resulted in Singapore being crowned ASEAN champions for a second straight time with a 3-2 aggregate victory, it also extended their unbeaten run in the competition to an impressive 17 matches, dating back to their 4-0 loss to Malaysia in the 2002 edition.

Fifteen of those victories were with Raddy Avramovic at the helm and their resilience under the Serbian coach was illustrated by the fact that Singapore drew five of their seven matches in the 2007 tournament.

The group games were staged in Singapore and Bangkok during January, 2007, and the venerable old stadium at Kallang witnessed a virtuoso display from Alam Shah in the rout of Laos.

“After a few months out of action, I think that this is my best ever performance. I’ve never managed to do something like this before,” he said after his magnificent seven strikes.

The win was sandwiched between draws against Vietnam (0-0) and Indonesia (2-2) with Singapore topping Group B on goal difference ahead of the Vietnamese. The Merah Putih, who also had five points, finished in third spot.

Indonesia faced stiff opposition from Laos in their opening encounter before prevailing 3-1 thanks to a rush of second half goals, and a 1-1 draw with Vietnam resulted in them requiring to beat co-hosts Singapore to ensure qualification.

They fought hard, twice coming back from a goal behind, before drawing 2-2 and exiting at the group stage for the first time because of a vastly inferior goal difference, Malaysia having beaten Laos 9-0 in the other fixture.

Thailand made a nervy start to Group A, an injury time goal from Suchao Nutnum rescuing them a point in a 1-1 draw with Myanmar.

They upped the tempo with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over the Philippines and topped the group thanks to a 1-0 win over Malaysia, Sarayoot “Joe Five Yards” Chaikamdee netting in the 48th minute.

Despite the loss, Malaysia joined the War Elephants in the semi-finals as Myanmar, who had drawn 0-0 with Harimau Malaya in their second match, were held to another goalless draw by the Philippines.

Auld enemies meet in semis

Malaysia were matched against old foes Singapore in the last four, the sides’ first meeting in the competition since The Lions’ chastening 4-0 home loss in 2002.

Both legs were tight affairs that ended 1-1, Hardi Jaafar opening the scoring at Shah Alam Stadium before the in-form Alam Shah equalised with a header and Eddy Helmi silenced the Kallang roar in the return clash with the opener ahead of Muhammad Ridhuan’s leveller.

The tie went to a spot kick decider with Singapore winning 5-4 and progressing to their second consecutive final after their goalkeeper Lionel Lewis saved Khyril Muhymeen's effort.

In the other semi-final encounter, Thailand did all the damage in the first leg against Vietnam with goals from Pipat and Datsakorn Thonglao quietening a near capacity crowd in a 2-0 win at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.

Thailand shut up shop in the return match in Bangkok with the subsequent 0-0 draw good enough to take them into their fourth final.

A final to remember

Despite losing the services of their talismanic captain Kiatisuk Senamuang for the final through injury, Thailand were installed as favourites but that did not account for the energy and spirit of The Lions.

Predictably Alam Shah featured heavily in the first leg encounter, scoring the opening goal and being central to the debatable penalty decision.

After Pipat had equalised for Thailand and with the tie tightly balanced, Alam Shah went down in the box after a challenge from Niweat Siriwong in the 82nd minute. The referee awarded a penalty, prompting a walk off from the Thai team.

On their return after about 15 minutes, Mustafic Fahrudin coolly hit home to give Singapore a precious 2-1 first leg lead.

Pipat’s lovely goal after 37 minutes of the return leg brought Thailand level on aggregate and they laid siege to Singapore’s goal for most of the second half, Suchao having a goal-bound effort saved on the line.

Enter 22-year-old Amri with the killer blow. He picked up the ball in midfield, sped by Datsakorn and hammered a right foot shot past Thailand goalkeeper Kittisak Rawangpa to put Singapore ahead on aggregate.

All that remained after a memorable, high-scoring tournament was for Singapore’s captain fantastic Aide Iskandar to lift aloft the trophy in an action replay of 2004.