Southeast Asia

Indonesia Sets Up Vietnam Rematch with Myanmar Thriller

Krishna Sadhana

Football Tribe SEA Editor


Indonesia booked their place in the 2019 SEA Games final after coming out on top of a 4-2 thriller against Myanmar at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila yesterday. Indra Sjafri’s boys were made to work hard for their victory, though, as Myanmar managed to score two goals in a space of two minutes late into the second half that forces extra time, however Garuda Muda showed their grit and mettle to score twice within extra time, confirming their place in the final.

Indonesia’s win over Myanmar sets up the perfect grudge match against Vietnam, who had crushed Cambodia 4-0 in their semifinal match. The match will be a replay of the Group B match between the two nations, which the Vietnamese won 2-1 after falling behind in the first half with an injury-time goal as the decider.

Taking on a Myanmar side who had comfortably won Group A, Indra went for his usual formation – Muhammad Rafli up top with Osvaldo Haay behind him, with Egy Maulana Vikri and Saddil Ramdani flanking the wings. Evan Dimas and Zulfiandi ran the midfield engine, while the defense consists of Asnawi Mangkualam, Bagas Adi Nugroho, captain Andy Setyo Nugroho, and Firza Andika, with Nadeo Argawinata safeguarding the goal as usual.

A confident Indonesia started the first half offensively, trying their best to pry through the Myanmar defense, however Velizar Popov’s boys did well to repel each attack thrown at them. Indonesia also did well to prevent any Myanmar attack from penetrating them, thus the first half ended goal-less.

As the second half starts, Indra decided to shuffle things by taking off M. Rafli and introducing Sani Rizki. The Bhayangkara FC player took Osvaldo’s place in the offensive mid sector, allowing the Persebaya Surabaya man to act as Indonesia’s spearhead. This sparked life into the Indonesian attack, and they took the lead in the 57th minute thanks to Evan. The Barito Putera player took advantage of a pinpoint pass by Egy, smashing home the ball past Myanmar goalie Sann Satt Naing.

Indonesia soon doubled their lead in the 72nd minute, this time with Egy turning from scorer to provider. A free-kick executed by Bagas Adi was well-received by the Lechia Gdansk player, who headed home Indonesia’s second.

Having the two goals advantage made Indonesia complacent as they thought that their passage to the final was secured. Myanmar immediately seized on Indonesia’s complacency late into the match and punished them severely with two quick-fire goals, all stemming from mistakes made by the Indonesian players.

Firstly, in the 79th minute, Lwin Moe Aung seized the opportunity presented to him by Zulfiandi losing possession in the midfield, passing the ball to Aung Kang Mann who made no mistake with his shot that went past Nadeo. 2-1 Indonesia, but Myanmar weren’t done there just yet.

Just one minute later, Nadeo raced out of his goal to intercept an overhit pass from Aung Naing Win, only to inexplicably spill the ball underneath no pressure at all. Win Naing Tun took advantage of this golden opportunity and scored Myanmar’s second goal into the unguarded net, thus tying the game at 2-2. Despite this, Indonesia kept pressing and pressing for a late winner, only for Myanmar to defend themselves resolutely throughout the remainder of regulation time. Full-time soon arrives and with the scores locked at 2-2, extra time beckons.

It was during extra time that Indonesia showed their worth as SEA Games contenders. With both teams slowing down their tempo due to fatigue, it was Indonesia who managed to regroup themselves first. In the 102nd minute, Asnawi slid the ball across the Myanmar goal, allowing Osvaldo to pounce with the finishing blow for his 8th goal of the tournament. 3-2 Indonesia, but Garuda Muda still have some fight in them to seal some insurance on the result in the 113rd minute. Starting off from a pass from Saddil, Sani received the ball dangerously close to the Myanmar goal, before unselfishly providing Evan the chance for the finishing blow. 4-2 Indonesia and Evan got his brace.

As if adding salt into their wounds, Myanmar found themselves playing with 10-men in the 119th minute, after Aung Naing Win received a red card for kicking Osvaldo purposely from behind. With the man-advantage on their side, Indonesia held on for the win and with it, a ticket to the final.

Indonesia will face a tough challenge in Vietnam on December 10th for that gold medal in the 2019 SEA Games final at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, but before that at the same venue, Myanmar and Cambodia will duel it out for the bronze medal earlier on the day.