JAKARTA (7 Sept 2011) – Faced with a must-win match early in the third round of 2014 World Cup qualifying, the Merah Putih instead put in a feeble performance in a 2-0 loss to Bahrain at Gelora Bung Karno.
The pain of Tuesday night may linger for much longer. Frustrated fans lit firecrackers and flares, causing Asian Football Confederation (AFC) officials to halt the match in the 77th minute. The 15-minute delay could end up costing the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) up to USD1 million in fines and having to hold future home matches in an empty stadium.
“I would like to apologize to the fans as we couldn’t win tonight. We won’t stop trying our best and we still have four matches to go,” said striker Bambang Pamungkas afterwards. “We just didn’t play well and we lost the ball very easy. It made us chase the ball and drained our energy.”
Sayed Dhiya scored the opener for Bahrain in first-half stoppage time, twisting past two Indonesian defenders in the penalty area and scoring past goalkeeper Markus Haris Maulana. Indonesia — fielding their first-choice attacking trio of Cristian Gonzales, Bambang Pamungkas and Boaz Solossa — huffed and puffed but failed to generate any dangerous scoring chances.
Ismail Abdul Latif doubled Bahrain’s in the 72nd minute, beating Markus one-on-one.
The fans’ misbehaviour came at an inopportune time. The AFC announced earlier on Tuesday their “serious concern over the unabated and recurring cases of spectators’ improper conduct,” including throwing missiles and the use of items such as fireworks and flares during matches.
Indonesia, which lost their Group E opener 3-0 to Iran on Friday, have no goals and no points after two matches. Anything less than a win at home against Qatar on 11 October 2011 will see their World Cup dream come to an end.
SOURCE: Jakarta Globe (By Wimbo Satwiko)