| JAKARTA (Dec 3, 2010) – Indonesia’s ‘foreign’ players – Christian Gonzalez and Irfan Haarys Bachdim – have come under the spotlight here after scoring goals in their rout of Malaysia and are likely to see far more action including tomorrow’s tie against Laos before this year’s AFF Suzuki Cup draws to an end. The duo combined well upfront and scored a goal each as Indonesia swept aside Malaysia 5-1.
Gonzalez, currently playing for Persib Bandung, is from Uruguay but has been plying his trade in Indonesia for many years and is even married to a local. Irfan on the other hand was born in Holland but as his father is Indonesian, the player opted to move here and represent his father’s homeland.
The match against Malaysia marked the duo’s official international appearance for their new country and they both certainly made the best of it. In fact, with the duo leading the strikeforce, veteran striker Bambang Pamungkas was left on the bench.
Gonzalez, nicknamed El Loco by the local media, has been a leading scorer in the Indonesian league and could be the key to Indonesia’s dreams of winning their first ever AFF Suzuki Cup this year. The striker is on fire and has now scored four goals for Indonesia in three internationals. He scored three goals in friendlies against Taiwan and Timor Leste in the run-up to this event.
Assistant coach Wolfgang Pikal told reporters at the Pre-Match Press Conference that head coach Alfred Riedl would name the starting line-up at a team briefing at noon tomorrow.
“I am pleased to say that with the exception of Arif (Suyono) all the other players are in good condition and ready for action. We are most likely to field the same team afterall they performed very well against Malaysia. Irfan played very well, so did Christian and Okto (Maniani).”
But he warned that Indonesia cannot afford to make mistakes which had allowed Malaysia to score. “The Laos strikers are fast and we can’t make the same mistake again. Laos showed that they are a team to contend with against Thailand. We can see the gap between teams have reduced and Laos is one of those who has improved vastly. I understand the team has been together since Jan 2009,” he said adding that striker Lamnao Singto and Ketsada Souksavanh were quick and could pose problems.
Laos coach David Booth said that his preparations against Indonesia would be no different from when they played Thailand two days ago. “I always said that the three teams in this group were all difficult. “We would like to perform the way we did in the first game.”
1700hrs – Thailand vs Malaysia
1930hrs – Indonesia vs Laos
Caption (main page): Indonesia’s Irfan Bachdim (No 17)
Caption (below): Christian Gonzalez (No 9) and Malaysia’s Mohd Razman