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Indonesia faces challenge of maintaining domination in second leg

 

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Mon, December 5, 2016 | 07:42 am
Indonesia faces challenge of maintaining domination in second leg

Good job: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo congratulates goal scorer Hansamu Yama Pranata after the national soccer team defeated Vietnam in a semifinal match of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 at Pakansari Stadium in Bogor, West Java, on Saturday. Indonesia won the match 2-1. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Staying focused and avoiding blunders will perhaps be the best strategy for Team Garuda to secure a spot in the final round of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup. But first they must beat Vietnam in the second leg semifinal on Wednesday.

The Indonesian soccer team gave home fans a sweet surprise by defeating Vietnam, among the favorites to win the biennial cup, 2-1 on Saturday.

The winning goals were contributed by defender Hansamu Yama Pranata in the seventh minute and striker Boaz Solossa in the 50th with a penalty goal at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, Bogor, West Java.

It was Indonesia’s first semifinal victory on the international stage since May, when world soccer body the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) lifted a ban on the side competing in international tournaments.

The visitors scored their only goal thanks to Nguyen Van Quyet, also from a penalty, in the 17th minute in front of a packed-to-the-rafters stadium of 30,000 spectators.

Indonesia’s coach Alfred Riedl was very proud of his men, saying they had displayed high-speed teamwork backed by powerful defense.

“I think we saw a very interesting match with high speed and a lot of effort from both sides,” said Austrian Riedl after the match, as quoted by affsuzukicup.com.

“In the second half I think Vietnam was a little stronger than us but we are proud to have achieved this win against a very strong opponent.”

Indonesia notched up seven goals in the group stage — the highest number of all four semifinalists — and began the first leg without the suspended defensive duo of Fachruddin Aryanto and Rudolof Yanto Basna.

But it was one of the stand-in defenders, Hansamu, who opened the scoring early on, and the home side then went on to produce arguably its best defensive performance of the competition.

“Our central defenders played well and were more than good replacements against very good strikers,” said the coach. “Le Cong Vinh is very strong and one of the best in Southeast Asia. We have four strong defenders so now we will have to see who plays the next match.”

In Saturday’s match, defenders Manahati Lestusen and Hansamu successfully wowed those watching — both inside and outside the stadium — with their precise play and lack of blunders, which gave them a strong advantage in tackling the ball from opponents.

Manahati and Hansamu were deployed in the first leg match of the semifinals as card accumulation prevented Rudolof and Fachruddin from playing.

Manahati and Hansamu might not be as aggressive as Rudolf and Fachruddin in tackling, but their accuracy is worth a round of applause.

In the upcoming second leg match on Wednesday, Riedl will be faced with a tough decision to make for the starting list, namely whether to bring back the Rudolof-Fachruddin duo or stick with Manahati and Hansamu.

Indonesia must avoid losing the second leg match, which will be held at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, if it wants to play its first AFF Cup final since 2010. If Indonesia makes it into the final, it will meet either defending champion Thailand or Myanmar.

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