Thursday, December 9, 2010

Indonesia 2 Thailand 1 - Bambang double ends Thai hopes

JAKARTA: Bambang Pamungkas converted two late penalties as Indonesia came from behind to beat Thailand 2-1 on Tuesday and send the three-time champions crashing out of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Thailand appeared to be on course for the win that they needed to progress when Suree Sukha fired them ahead in the 68th minute at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

But Bambang levelled the score from the spot in the 81st minute and then fired home the winner a minute from time to give the hosts their third consecutive victory in Group A and condemn the Thais to an early exit.

Despite securing top spot in the group before the match, Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl opted to make only three changes to the side that beat Laos 6-0 with Tony Sucipto, Muhamad Roby and Eka Ramdani coming in for Firman Utina and Ahmad Bustomi, who each have a booking, and the injured Hamka Hamzah.

Thailand coach Bryan Robson made four changes to his side from their goalless draw with Malaysia with Suttinun Phukhom, Rangsan Vivatchaichok, Kirati Keawsombut and Naruphol Aromsawa replacing Suchao Nutnum, Sarayoot Chaikamdee, Sutee Suksomkit and Phichitphong Choeichiu

There were worries for the Thais when goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool required lengthy treatment after an aerial collision after just two minutes. But he managed to continue after having his head heavily bandaged.

Cheered on loudly by the crowd of 65,000, the Indonesians showed plenty of attacking intent early on but the first half quickly descended into a physical battle with little in the way of clear-cut chances.

Thai midfielder Rangsan Vivatchaichok should have done better in the fifth minute when he fired a free-kick 25 metres from goal straight at the wall while Indonesia goalkeeper Markus Harison bravely came out to save at the feet of Datsakorn Thonglao in the 15th minute after Kirati Keawsombut had gone around right back Mohammad Nasuha.

The Thais created a good opening on the half-hour when Rangsan received a pass from Datsakorn on the edge of the box and quickly relayed it to Kirati, who looked to be clear on goal but shot wide as he was challenged by Zulkifly Syukur.

The Thais continued to press after the half-time break and nearly took the lead in the 51st minute when Markus was caught out of position after he failed to gather a cross by Rangsan. Datsakorn lofted the loose ball towards goal but Maman Abdurachman headed it off his line.

The Indonesians had a chance of their own a minute later when the ball was lofted into the Thai box for Christian Gonzales, who got to the ball just ahead of Sinthaweechai but touched his effort just wide of the far post.

Markus then atoned for his earlier error in the 55th minute with a fine reflex save to keep out Kirati's spectacular bicycle kick from 10 metres.

With time beginning to run out on his side, Robson sent Therdsak Chaiman on to replace Datsakorn in the 68th minute. And just a minute later, they got the crucial goal as Kirati knocked the ball down in the box for Suree, who volleyed into the top right corner.

But Indonesia came to life after falling behind and began to take control of proceedings.

Arif Suyono saw his shot deflected over by Suchao Nutnum in the 78th minute, and three minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Gonzales appeared to be bundled over in the box by Panupong Wongsa, who was booked.

Bambang was unerring from the spot, driving the ball past Sinthaweechai into the bottom left corner.

Roared on by the home fans, they completed the comeback a minute from time when they were awarded another penalty after Panupong handled Arif's goal-bound attempt. Panupong was dismissed for his second yellow card and Indonesia skipper Bambang made no mistake once again, sending Sinthaweechai the wrong way from the spot to seal Thailand's demise.


Thais paid penalty for nervous finish: Robson 

JAKARTA: Thailand coach Bryan Robson felt that his side let their nerves get the better of them as they bowed out of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Tuesday after conceding two late penalties in a 2-1 loss to Indonesia in their final Group A game.

Needing a win to advance to the semi-finals, the Thais controlled much of the play and took a deserved lead through Suree Sukha's volley midway through the second half.

But they were unable to maintain the initiative and collapsed in the closing minutes as Bambang Pamungkas converted twice from the spot to send the three-time champions crashing out of the tournament.

"Overall I thought we played quite well tonight but after we scored the goal, we seemed to panic a bit and gave the ball away a bit too much," said Robson.

"If we got the penalty in the first half, when we were playing better and we were putting them under a lot of pressure, it might have been a different game.

"For me, the turning point was when we scored and our possession was not so good as it was previous to that and we didn't play very well."

The former England captain felt aggrieved that his side were not awarded a penalty in the first half while they were well on top when Suree Sukha went down in the box but was instead booked for diving.

The penalties instead went to the Indonesians when Christian Gonzales appeared to be fouled in the 81st minute and Panupong Wongsa handled Bambang's goal-bound shot a minute from time.

"I think that the officials haven't been very kind to us in this competition," he lamented.

"In the first half, there was a blatant foul on Suree but the referee didn't seem to see it and gave him a yellow card instead. In the second half, the ball hit the post, went across the box and their player went down but he managed to see a foul this time.

"And then right at the end, when a player blasts a ball at you from two yards out and it hits you on the arm, it's beyond me how that can be a penalty and you can get sent off as well. I thought that just summed the referee up."

Meanwhile, Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl expressed surprise at the powers of recovery shown by his side, who were on the back foot for much of the game but came on strong at the end.

"I thought that today, we were playing in third gear a little bit but their goal woke us up. I was surprised that we had so much power in the end and we got the result we wanted in the end," the Austrian said.

"If you take the game over 90 minutes, a draw would have been a fair result because the Thais tried hard to score. In the first half, they were not dangerous but in the second half they created a lot more chances because they had to take a risk.

"They finally scored a goal but after that we played more offensive and we took more chances. That was what resulted in the two penalties, which were both quite clear."

Source - AFF Suzuki Cup

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