Chiang Mai, Thailand – In a gripping showdown at the Chiang Mai 700th Anniversary Stadium, the 49th edition of the “King’s Cup” football championship concluded on September 10, 2023, with the Iraqi national team emerging as triumphant victors. His Majesty the King presided over the event, deputing General Chalermchai Sittisart, Privy Councilor, as His Majesty’s representative.
The highly anticipated final match of the evening pitted the Thai national team against their Iraqi counterparts. Despite intermittent rain, the game was marked by intense action. Within the opening ten minutes, Iraq took an early lead, netting a goal to put Thailand on the back foot. However, Thailand clawed their way back into the game in the 37th minute when Nicholas Mickelson, wearing the number 12 jersey, found the net, equalizing the score at 1-1. The thrilling first half left the audience on the edge of their seats.
The second half brought further drama, as Iraq managed to regain their lead with another goal, putting them up 2-1. Undeterred, the Thai national team displayed unwavering determination, and in the 82nd minute, they levelled the score at 2-2, sending the crowd into jubilant cheers. The match concluded after 90 minutes of play, with both teams unable to break the deadlock, resulting in a 2-2 tie. The King’s Cup would now be decided through a penalty shootout.
The penalty shootout proved to be just as thrilling as the game itself, with the Iraqi team displaying remarkable accuracy, winning 5-4 on penalties. This victory secured the 49th King’s Cup for Iraq in dramatic fashion, leaving Thai football fans with mixed emotions.
General Chalermchai Sittisart, Privy Councilor, took the opportunity to honor the athletes, coaching staff, officials, and the referee team with commemorative medals for their participation in this prestigious competition. He then presented the coveted royal trophy to the Iraqi national team, who emerged as the deserving champions of the 2023 King’s Cup football championship.
Earlier in the day, the third-place playoff saw the Indian national team face off against Lebanon. The first half remained goalless, but Lebanon managed to break the deadlock in the second half, securing a 1-0 victory and clinching the third position in this year’s King’s Cup.
As the curtains closed on the 49th King’s Cup, football enthusiasts across Thailand and Chiang Mai celebrated the thrilling tournament that had unfolded before their eyes, with Iraq etching their name into the annals of King’s Cup history.