SURABAYA (9 Aug 2018) – Malaysia were not over awed by the occasion but in the end, a single mistake gave hosts Indonesia their place in the final following their 1-0 win in the second semifinal of the AFF Under-16 Championship here at the Delta Sidoarjo Stadium.
In front of a sell-out crowd, Indonesia played their usual attacking game and where following a deadlocked first half, needed a penalty from Amiruddin Bagus Kahfi Alfikri late in the second half to win the tie.
With the win, Indonesia will now take on Thailand in the final of the championship in two days at the same venue.
“Malaysia played a very tight game and that made it really hard for us,” said Indonesian head coach Fakhri Hussaini.
“But in the second half, we pushed harder and got the win. The win is for the fans who came to support us tonight.”
With the creative Indonesian fans singing a medley of popular ‘favourites’ in an effort to unsettle their opponents, it would be the tenacious Indonesian side under Fakhri who really controlled the pace of the game.
But with Bagus playing in a more central position and not a free attacking role, chances were limited with Muhammad Fajar Fathur Rachman driving the attack.
Mochammad Supriadi had a relatively quiet night with his best effort at half hour mark coming off the Malaysian goal while captain David Maulana should really have punished a defensive mistake.
Malaysia continued into second half much in the same manner relying on the counter-attack with Harith Naem Jaineh as the lone striker.
With Supriadi getting closer with a dipping shot that almost caught the Malaysians, the goal finally came in the 72nd minute when Malaysian goalkeeper Abdul Alim Al Amri Ali was faulted for bringing down the speedster inside the box.
And who else but the prolific Bagus to put the ball to the left of Abdul Alim for the only goal of the match.
“The boys were not over awed. They were not scared and they played their usual game,” said Malaysian head coach Raj Azlan Shah afterwards.
“Just that one mistake with the lack of communication between the goalkeeper and the defenders that resulted in the goal.”
9 Aug 2018 –Semifinals
Thailand 1 Myanmar 0
Indonesia 1 Malaysia 0