Asia FIFA World Cup

Indonesia Rescue Draw Against Panama

Indonesia U-17 were made to pay for their slow start against Panama U-17, however they had Arkhan Kaka to thank as the Persis Solo youngster’s equalizer ensured that the Young Garudas had two points from their two 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup matches thanks to their 1-1 draw with the Central Americans on Monday night.

Facing-off against Panama at the Gelora Bung Tomo in Surabaya, Indonesia were sub-par throughout the first half, showing signs of nervousness that were more prominent than those shown in the Young Garudas’ first bow against Ecuador. This led to numerous errors that were seized upon by the Panamanians, however, Indonesia somehow kept the scoreline goalless throughout most of the first half, until their defenses were finally breached in the final minute of stoppage time.

Taking advantage of Iqbal Gwijangge’s weak pass, Oldemar Castillo snatched the ball away from the Indonesia player before weaving his way through four Indonesian defenders, eventually finding himself one-on-one with Ikram Al-Ghiffari in the Indonesia goal. Utilizing a well-taken chip, Castillo easily beat Ikram to give Panama the lead.

Indonesia came out from the dressing rooms an improved side for the second half, immediately piling on the pressure as they chased for an equalizer. The Young Garudas’ efforts paid off in the 54th minute, after Welber Jardim’s cross from the right flank was emphatically headed into the Panama goal by Kaka, restoring parity.

Both teams then exchanged chances after chances. Kaka’s 68th minute effort was caught by Panama goalkeeper Manuel Romero, while at the opposite end of the pitch substitute Kevin Walder saw his header flying over the crossbar. Last but not least, in the fifth minute of injury time Hanif Ramadhan had the chance to seal the win for Indonesia, only for Romero to easily save his tame shot.

Monday’s other matches saw Spain booking their spot in the round of 16 with a 1-0 win over 10-men Mali at the Manahan Stadium in Solo, while at the same venue, Uzbekistan crushed Canada 3-0. Prior to the Indonesia match, Ecuador went back to winning ways after they had stunned Morocco 2-0.