Teerasil Dangda's 79th minute header earned Thailand a 1-1 away draw against defending champions Malaysia in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
The capacity crowd at the 90,000-strong Bukit Jalil Stadium erupted when Norshahrul Talaha headed Malaysia into the lead in the 48th minute after a barren first half which was more of a midfield battle.
Teerasil's header half an hour later punctured the buoyant mood in the stadium and ensured Thailand would have a psychological edge in Thursday's second leg in Bangkok.
Thailand had dictated the early pace but Malaysia fought back into the match with some good attacking chances, one of which saw Bunyamin Umar's cross finding an unmarked Azammuddin Akil who headed wide.
In a livelier second half, Malaysian striker Safee Sali had a chance to put the home side back in front in the 88th minute but goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan's brilliant reflex save thwarted the close range attempt.
Philippines and Singapore played a goalless draw in the first leg of the other semi-final on Saturday. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Alan Baldwin)