MANILA (25 Nov 2016) – Indonesia clawed their way back into the game to earn a 2-1 victory over Singapore and claim the second AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final slot from Group A at the Rizal Memorial Stadium tonight.
Over at the Philippine Sports Stadium, it was a tale missed chances that would see the hosts eventually fall 1-0 to weakened Thai side and lose their shot at making their fourth consecutive semi-final appearance.
Singapore, which were also in the running for a place in the last four, led 1-0 at the break after a superb Khairul Amri goal. The Lions threw everything they had into the last 45 minutes but were unable to contain their highly charged opponents. The speedy Andik Vermansyah blasted the equaliser in the 62nd minute while Stefano Lilipaly struck the winner in the 85th minute.
Thailand, who rested all their stars and fielded reserves instead, struck the winner in the 81st minute when Sarawut Masuk broke away, race into the box and very coolly place the ball beyond the keeper. Sarawut was also the one who broke Singaporean hearts with an 89thminute winner.
With the win, Thailand top Group A with a maximum nine points with Indonesia rolling in second on four. Philippines are third with two points while Singapore finished off with one point.
Thailand and Indonesia will have to wait until tomorrow to know for certain who their opponents are. Indonesia however, are almost certain to meet Vietnam lead Group B with six points and face bottom-placed Cambodia in their last game. The second place will be toss-up between Myanmar and Malaysia.
“We replaced our players today but we also showed that our reserves are also capable. We showed that we are professionals and went for the win. I said from the beginning that we must win to get the FIFA ranking points,” said Thai coach Kiatisuk Senamuang.
Philippines coach Thomas Dooley meanwhile said: “It is said to be going out but this is all part of the game. We could have won it in the first half,” said Dooley. “I’ve said it before they are a good side with many good players, even their second tier players are strong.”
Tomorrow will see Vietnam face qualifier Cambodia while hosts Myanmar attempt to qualify for their first AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal when they meet 2010 champions, Malaysia in Yangon.Indonesia claim semis slot as Thais end Azkals run.
FINAL GROUP A STANDINGS
GROUP B STANDINGS
- Teams in bold qualify for semi-finals