With six runners-up finishes to their names without ever tasting the ultimate glory, Indonesia are once again shaping up as genuine contenders at the 2022 AFF Championship as they made it two wins in a row in Group A with a 7-0 rout of Brunei Darussalam on Monday.
Despite Brunei showing some initial resistance -- trailing to a solitary strike by Syahrian Abimanyu as halftime approached -- a 38th-minute red card to Alinur Rashimy Jufri paved the way for the floodgates to be opened, with the Indonesians capitalising on their numerical advantage to pile on six more goals thereafter.
The evening's second game then saw defending champions Thailand issue a statement of intent of their own, as they proved irrepressible in a 4-0 rout of Philippines.
Here, we take a look at three key takeaways from Match Day 3 of Group A action at the tournament.
Indonesia's hunger, versatility on full display
As they led 2-0 a man to the good at halftime, Indonesia could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the pedal against Brunei in anticipation for tougher tests against Thailand and Philippines to come over the next week.
Instead, Shin Tae-yong's charges decided to pile the misery on their hapless opponents to record the biggest victory at this year's competition thus far.
In addition to the dominant nature of their performance, another highlight was the fact that they had seven different scorers -- showcasing the options available at Shin's disposal.
While usual suspects like Egy Maulana and naturalised duo Ilija Spasojevic and Marc Klok were all expectedly on target, others such as Dendy Sulistyawan, Ramadhan Sananta and Yakob Sayuri also chipped in to show they could be handy alternatives waiting to be called upon.
Write veteran Teerasil off at your own peril
At the age of 34, Teerasil Dangda may no longer be the outstanding prospect that earned a move to LaLiga with Almeria and also plied his trade abroad in Japan with both Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Shimizu S-Pulse.
These days, he is not even as prolific back in his domestic Thai League 1 with BG Pathum United but that is not to say he still cannot do a role for Thailand at Southeast Asian level.
Widely regarded as the region's deadliest striker over the past decade, Teerasil netted twice against Philippines to take his tally at the tournament to three goals in just two games -- with his first a stupendous header from a difficult angle.
Already the AFF Championship's record scorer and now up to an all-time tally of 22 goals, a fifth Top Scorer award is not beyond Teerasil despite his increasing years.
Theerathon in midfield could be a Polking masterstroke
Speaking of seasoned campaigners in the War Elephants outfit, Theerathon Bunmathan is another rolling back the years at this edition of the AFF Championship.
While he has spent most of his career renowned for being a rampaging left-back with an eye for a spectacular strike, the 32-year-old has occasionally been deployed in central midfield in recent times -- and it was a role he performed to perfection against Philippines.
Theerathon constantly dropped in between the Thailand centre-backs to receive possession and look to get the Thais on the front foot with his wand of a left foot, and his composure on the ball allowed him to dictate the tempo of the game.
With Sasalak Haiprakhon putting in a good shift and also shaping up as a long-term option at left-back, Theerathon's future at international level could belong in the heart of midfield.
Azkals once again lacking that extra bit of class
Philippines were always staring down an uphill task when they fell to a shock loss to Cambodia in their campaign opener, even if they did bounce back by beating Brunei 5-1 on Friday.
But considering they had only appointed Josep Ferre as their new coach on the eve of the tournament and were fielding a relatively inexperienced side, pipping either Thailand or Indonesia to a top-two finish and a semifinal berth did look a huge ask.
That ultimately proved the case as they were outclassed by the Thais on Monday, highlighting the difference in quality they still have to make up if they are to return to being among the region's top dogs.