HO CHI MINH CITY (23 Oct 2019) – Indonesia made it a surprise finish in Group B of the of the AFF HDBank Championship 2019 when they beat Australia well to take the group as Vietnam had to contend with some anxious moments before they were able to beat Malaysia later in the evening at the Phu Tho Stadium.
Indonesia showed that they are the most improved team in the past year when they denied Australia 8-3 to book their place in the next round as the result forced Vietnam having to overcome the goal deficit when they had to settle for a 4-2 win over Malaysia.
Both Indonesia and Vietnam had gone into the final group matches on the same four points but Vietnam lead the group on a single goal difference.
The Australians who have been a consistent performer at this annual meet up until their absence three years ago, found themselves unable to rely on their physical prowess to overcome a more organised and resolute side from Indonesia.
Ardiansyah Nur got the ball rolling with the lead for Indonesia after just four minutes as Jarrod Basger drew level for Australia ten minutes later.
But Indonesia would trooped off into the dressing room on a confident 2-1 advantage when Mochamad Iqbal scored the first of his four goals in the 17th minute.
Two quick goals in the 22nd and 25th minute off Muhammad Xavier and Muhammad Subahan put Australia under further pressure.
Daniel Fogarty then closed the gap in the 29th minute as Gregory Giovenali then added another for the score to stand at 4-3.
But Indonesia then stepped up a gear with Mochamad Iqbal’s 33rd minute strike and Muhammad Subhan’s second of the evening a minute later.
With the score at 6-3, the Australians introduced power play that played right into Indonesia’s hands as they added two more goals through Mochamad Iqbal (39th and 40th) for the win and their place at the top of the table.
“The players adapted well in the game and that can be seen against Australia,” said Indonesia head coach Kensuke Takahashi. “I am very proud of my players.”
Against such a background, Vietnam were already feeling the pressure from the get go and considering that they had not beaten the Malaysians for quite some time, the stress of having to perform in front of their home crowd can be quite daunting.
Head coach Miguel Rodrigo’s calming stance had an effect on the lads and it took them just six minutes to prise open the Malaysian defence for Nguyen Thanh Tin to run past his marker to slot the ball home.
The Malaysians were not overly defensive and was quick on the counter attack as they held off the robust Vietnamese side for long periods up until the 26th minute when Vu Duc Tung ran down the right to drill it past Azrul Hadee Taufiq for the second time on the night.
With the goals not flowing as had been expected, Rodrigo introduced power play but it had the adverse effect as it was the Malaysians who came back to score twice through Abu Haniffa Hasan in the 33rd minute and Mohd Azwann Ismail in the 37th minute.
However, Vietnam fought back to score two goals in the closing stages through Minh Tri in the 39th and Chau Doan Phat in the 40th minute to at least avoid a draw in their final game of the group.
“Yes we have a problem with finishing our chances but this is something which we need to work on. The finishing under pressure should be better. The target today was winning by a certain number of goals but the players were not calm and that was what happened,” added Rodrigo.
Indonesia 8 Australia 3
Vietnam 4 Malaysia 2
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
- Teams in bold qualify for semifinals