KUALA LUMPUR (28 Nov 2012) – A curling free kick from youngster Andik Vermansyah gave Indonesia not only a valuable 1-0 win over Singapore but also the lead in Group B after two matches of the AFF Suzuki Cup this evening at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Both teams had gone into the game on two very different plane – Indonesia lucky to grab a 2-2 draw against Laos while for Singapore, their confidence were sky high after comprehensively beating hosts and defending champions Malaysia 3-0 in their first tie.
But the game was anything but predictable although for Singapore they must have rued the wasted chances and missed opportunities up until Andik step up to the plate that overcame the defensive wall and into the Singapore goal. The win was Indonesia’s first in seven meetings.
“It was not a lucky result today. We worked hard and we prevented Singapore from scoring,” said Indonesian captain Irfan Bachdim afterwards. “We played better and we showed that we were the better team tonight.”
Indonesia were the early aggressors where as early as the sixth minute they almost went ahead but Oktovianus Maniani failed to capitalize on a mistake from Singapore defender Daniel Bennett.
In the 25th minute, Singapore came close with a stinger from Shahidan Sulaiman from inside the box but keeper Wahyu Tri Nugroho was equal to the task.
Then it was several attempts on a trot from Vendry Mofu, Taufiq as well as Novan Sasongko but all failed to find the back of Izwan Mahbud’s goal as the score stood all even at the half.
With the change for the pacey Andik after the break, a flurry of yellow cards continued all night long and in the 66th minute, Singapore were reduced to ten men when left back Irwan Shah picked up his second yellow card of the evening.
And with veteran striker Bambang Pamungkas upfront, Indonesia pushed forward with confidence where three minutes to the end, Andik became the toast of all Indonesians with a well-taken free kick to give them their first three points of the competition and brightened their chance into the next round.
“It was a very difficult game although the rec card changed the tone of the match,” said Radojko Avramovic, the chief coach of Singapore. “I don’t think that we are under pressure. We still have the match against Laos to play.”