Football Tribe SEA Editor
Indonesia has shown that their previous victory over Thailand was no fluke as they confidently dispatched Singapore 2-0 in their second SEA Games match yesterday. The win brought Indra Sjafri’s men joint-top of Group B, sitting nicely on 2nd place with only goal difference separating them from Vietnam on 1st.
Playing at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Singapore devised a high-pressing defensive strategy to prevent Indonesia from developing their own style of play. Realizing that they must strike first in order to settle the game quickly, Singapore went into the offensive since the first minute, however Garuda Muda managed to thwart every chances thrown against them. Slowly Indonesia began to take control of the game, however the aforementioned high-pressing strategy prevented Indonesia from creating any meaningful chances. Lionel Tan almost opened the scoring for Singapore in the 17th minute, however Indonesia goalkeeper Nadeo Argawinata once again showed his prowess between the sticks to deny him. The Indonesian midfield, led by Evan Dimas, tried to escape from Singapore’s constant pressing in order to devise any attack on the Singaporean defense, however Singapore defended well to prevent any breaches. Thus the first-half ended goalless, with neither team having the upper-hand over the other.
Indonesia came out of the dressing rooms flying in the second-half, with Egy Maulana Vikri and Osvaldo Haay being the spearheads of an Indonesian attack hungry for blood. The duo tried their best in unlocking Singapore’s defense, with Saddil Ramdani providing Egy with the perfect ball on the 53rd minute, only for Egy to see his shot being saved by Singapore goalie Zharfan Rohaizad.
However on the 63rd minute, there was no denying Indonesia as a cross towards Osvaldo was well received by the Persebaya Surabaya player, before he proceeded to outsmart a Singaporean defender before beating Zharfan with a well-placed shot. With Indonesia 1-0 up, Sjafri’s men began piling on the pressure, trying their best to crack more holes into the Singaporean defense and grab another goal to kill off the game. And they did just that – in the 74th minute, Osvaldo managed to break his way through the Singaporean defense, before passing the ball to Asnawi Mangkualam Bahar. The PSM Makassar defender wasted no time with the easiest of finishes to make it 2-0.
The 2-0 scoreline lasted until the referee blew for full-time, after Indonesia had tried their best to get a third and Singapore had threatened to pull off a comeback in the 81st minute thanks to an Irfan Fandi header that thankfully did not went in. The win meant that Indonesia had etched a 100% victory record in the 2019 SEA Games with two wins out of two, and are now more than eager to face Group B joint-leaders Vietnam at the Rizal on December 1st. Beat Vietnam, and Sjafri’s men may found themselves as favorites for that gold medal.