In a highly-anticipated rematch of the 2020 final, it was perhaps fitting that there was no separating record AFF Championship winners Thailand and six-time runners-up Indonesia at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium as both teams played out a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
After all, the two were the standout duo in the coronavirus-delayed previous edition of the tournament just 12 months ago, and both were looming as genuine contenders once again in 2022.
But the fact that neither were able to find a winner against the other on Thursday means that while could still dream of meeting again in this year's final, they remain at risk of missing out on the semifinals completely with one round still to play in the group stage.
Thailand and Indonesia still occupy the top two spots in Group A but are now a solitary point above Cambodia, who kept their qualification hopes alive with a 5-1 rout of Brunei Darussalam in Thursday's other tie -- a result which also ended the prospects of Philippines, who had sat out the match day 4 action.
In the immediate aftermath of the draw they played out, it is likely that Indonesia would be the happier of the two teams with the result -- especially given they were comprehensively outplayed in a 6-2 aggregate defeat to the Thais last time out.
Back then, they were a youthful and vibrant but raw outfit that showed little fear but just lacked the extra bit of quality and experience to cope with the more-seasoned Thais.
A year on, the Indonesians remain one of Southeast Asia's most-exciting outfits but have now added an extra bit of steel to their game.
The likes of Egy Maulana and Witan Sulaeman still have improvement in their games to come but already play with more maturity to go with their outstanding talent, even if the latter was guilty of missing a golden opportunity against the Thais that could have changed the result.
And in the naturalised trio of Ilija Spasojevic, Marc Klok and Jordi Amat, Indonesia suddenly now boast an injection of bigger, stronger bodies with plenty of know-how from their time playing in Europe.
While Indonesia did arguably look the more dangerous of the two teams in the final third, Thailand -- as they usually do -- still did exert a certain element of control on proceedings as they won the possession battle 60-40.
It also must be remembered that while the War Elephants can call upon seasoned campaigners in the form of Teerasil Dangda, Theerathon Bunmathan and Sarach Yooyen -- who scored their equalizer on Thursday -- there are also plenty of new faces that coach Alexandre Polking has opted to blood, with star man Chanathip Songkrasin -- who clearly made the difference in 2020 -- absent from proceedings.
That should however take little away from the improvement Indonesia showed.
On paper, they will have the easier task to seal their place in the last four on Monday against already-eliminated Philippines, while Thailand have to take on the high-flying Cambodians.
Both traditional powerhouses should be challenging for top honours come the knockout stage once again.
Yet, after their stalemate on Thursday, they must now focus on making sure they get there.