SURABAYA (2 Aug 2018) – Hosts Indonesia are in the driver’s seat of Group A of the AFF Under-16 Championship following their drama-filled 4-2 win over Vietnam here at the Delta Sidoarjo Stadium.
In the decisive match of the group which both Indonesia and Vietnam would want to win so as to be in an advantageous position for the semi-finals, the game could not have been more dramatic as when Vietnam grabbed the lead.
But Indonesia had just too much pace and they would soon take control of the game to score four goals throughout the ensuing night for the hard fought victory.
“We were very motivated for this match. It was not easy to play against Vietnam but the players were compact and disciplined,” said Indonesian head coach Fakhri Hussaini. “It was our third full points.”
With the crucial placement in the group at stake, there was certainly plenty to play for as the young Indonesian side was eager to please the more than 10,000 fans that had thronged to the match.
For Vietnam, they were looking to defend the title they won in 2017 in Choburi where another crown on the road would testify to their pedigree as a quality young side.
But the decision by Indonesian head coach Fakhri Hussaini to leave out the likes of speedy winger Mochammad Supardi, Rendy Juliansyah and also Amiruddin Bagus Alfikri would work against them.
While Indonesia had the possessions, they just lacked pace and creativity and in the sixth minute, a quick counter attack allowed Dinh Thanh Trung to stab the ball home for the lead as the entire Indonesian defence was caught napping.
A flurry of freekicks for Indonesia was wasted and it was not until the introduction of the nippy Supriadi in the 27th minute that the game changed for the hosts.
It took him just two minutes to weave past two Vietnam defenders for a close range shot to give Indonesia the equaliser as the home teams heaved a sigh of relief for the status quo at the break.
Supriadi alongside Bagus – who was brought in at the restart – were a constant thorn for the Vietnam defence and in the 44th minute, the former earned a penalty that was converted by, who else but by the indomitable Bagus.
Vietnam were starting to feel that their counter-attack plan was not working and while they introduced Doan Chi Bao to give further credence to their attack, his attempts did not come close enough to trouble the Indonesian backline.
Right at the hour mark, the Vietnam defence was punished again when they allowed Bagas’ twin brother Amiruddin Bagas to breeze into the box for a short pass that was finished by his sibling.
As the game got even more physical, it escalated to an altercation just six minutes later that saw Vietnam’s Vo Nguyen Hoang and Indonesia’s Rendy Juliansyah being given direct red cards by refereen Xaypaseth Phongsanit from Laos.
Just ten minutes later, Vietnam dragged themselves back into the game with a penalty that was slotted home by Thanh Trung to put the score at 3-2 to Indonesia.
But the hosts were not finished yet and deep in injury time, Bagus gave the home fans another reason to cheer with his excellent run before a short lay up for Andre Oktaviansyah the easiest of tap ins.
The win gave Indonesia nine points from three matches played while for Vietnam, it was their first loss of their campaign.
“It was a very good match and Indionesia pressed us hard,” said Vietnam head coach Vu Hong Viet. “Now we will have to make sure that we win our remaining matches (for a place in the next round).”
In the meantime, Myanmar got their campaign back on track with a 7-0 routing of the Philippines.
Both Myanmar and Timor Leste were at the losing end in their last match in the group with the former going down to hosts Indonesia 2-1 while Timor Leste were whipped 4-0 by Vietnam.
“We really wanted to win today to put the bad memory of losing the last match behind us,” said Myanmar head coach Nyi Nyi Latt after the match at the Delta Sidoarjo Stadium.
“The players are improving and the team is getting better which is important. We have to maintain tactical discipline.”
Even at half pace, Myanmar were still too hot to handle for the Philippines when they conceded their first goal of the game after just two minutes when goalkeeper Jetrick Fabrigas failed to make a clean save of captain Naung Naung Soe’s stiff grounder.
The Philippines tried to stem the tide but Aung Ko Oo’s second goal for Myanmar in the 25th minute shook Jetrick’s confidence as he went on to make several more mistakes to allow the latter to race to a 4-0 lead at the half.
Myanmar’s two other goals were scored by Naung Soe in the 24th minute and Zaw Win Thein.
The change for France Santos Barrera between the posts injected some confidence to the Philippines backline.
But Myanmar were just too slick in the attack as they added further goals from Pyae Phyo Aung in the 46th minute, Khun Kyaw Zin Hein (53rd) and Wai Yan Soe (77th).
“We are disappointed and sad with the results,” said Philippines head coach Reiji Hirata.
“We are always looking to improve and in spite of the result, I thought that the players did better in their last game.”
In the meantime Timor Leste bounced back to beat Cambodia 2-1 in the match that was played at the Joko Samudro Stadium.
Substitute Ejivanio Da Costa delivered the winner for Timor Leste in the 46th minute after Alto da Cruz 13th minute opener was cancelled out by Cambodia’s Bunthoeun Bunnarong in the 29th minute.
2 Aug 2018 – Group A
Timor Leste 2 Cambodia 1
Philippines 0 Myanmar 7
Vietnam 2 Indonesia 4
3 Aug 2018 – Group B
All matches at the Joko Samudro Stadium
1500: Thailand vs Singapore
1830: Malaysia vs Brunei DS