Southeast Asia Indonesia

Heartbreak for Indonesia U-23 as Guinea U-23 Seal Final Olympic Ticket

Guinea U-23 secured their spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics with a 1-0 play-off win over Indonesia U-23 on May 9th at the INF Clairefontaine in Paris.

Ilaix Moriba’s first-half penalty was the deciding factor in a tense match at the France Football Federation’s national training center. The roster for the 16-team tournament at Paris 2024 is now finalized, with Guinea joining Group A alongside host nation France, the USA, and New Zealand.

Guinea started the game more aggressively and took the lead just before the 30-minute mark. After a swift counter-attack, forward Algassime Bah was fouled in the penalty area by Indonesia’s Witan Sulaeman. Moriba stepped up to take the resulting penalty and successfully converted it.

The African team had a prime opportunity to extend their lead shortly after the break, but Mohamed Soumah’s close-range shot was cleared off the line.

Indonesia nearly equalized around the 60-minute mark when substitute Alfeandra Dewangga’s header narrowly missed the target.

Dewangga was back in action soon after, conceding a penalty after a challenge on Bah. Following a lengthy delay – during which Indonesia’s head coach Shin Tae-yong was sent off for protesting the penalty decision – Bah took the penalty himself, but his shot hit the post and went wide.

Despite Indonesia’s relentless efforts to find an equalizer, Guinea held firm and secured their qualification for Paris 2024.

This marks Guinea’s second appearance in the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament, their first since 1968.

Despite defeat, Indonesia could go back home with their heads held high as their road to the Olympics, despite being cut short at the final hurdle, represents how far the Timnas Garuda has grown underneath Shin’s tutelage, with a blend of young yet experienced heritage players, mostly sourced from the Netherlands, as well as a crop of talented locals such as Witan, Dewangga, and Marselino Ferdinan.