Singapore Defeat Indonesia To Win Group
As the group champions, Singapore, who will likely avoid an early showdown with Group B leaders Thailand, will have the privilege of playing the return semifinal leg at home. Indonesia will play their first leg semifinal match in Jakarta on Dec 16.
Singapore silenced the crowd just two minutes into the match when defender Baihakki Khaizan, from a corner kick, headed in the opener. It was the same story five minutes into the second half when Shi Jiayi’s freekick crashed into the Indonesian goal .
Indonesia had to be credited for their tremendous efforts to try and come back each time Singapore scored. After the opening goal, the Indonesian players took the fight and controlled the rest of the first half. Indonesia fought courageously after Jiayi’s goal and had several chances but failed to put the finishing touches. The Singapore defence of Daniel Bennett, Emuejeraye Precious, Baihakki and Mohd Noh Rahman combined well and contributed to the failure of the Indonesian strikers to get through.
When Malaysian referee R. Krishnan blew to start the game, the last thing anyone expected was another quick goal from Singapore, who had scored in the first-minute against Myanmar two days ago. But Defender Baihakki Khaizan chose to prove the game with a stunning start and headed his team ahead.
For the next 44 minutes, including extratime, it was mainly Indonesia who controlled proceedings. Their forwards desperately tried to get the equaliser but failed to find the mark. Four-goal hero Budi Sudarsono, Bambang Pamungkas and Arif Suyono were constantly lurking around the box but were unable to get that all important shot in. Arif especially was quick along the right flank and was a bother to Bennett and John Wilkinson.
In the 24th minute, Muhammad Ridhuan let loose a first-timed shot from the top of the box but goalkeeper Markus Harison Rihihina caught it well. In a quick counter-attack, Singapore skipper Indra Sahdan Daud stormed down the right but watched his shot whizz past the face of the goal.
In the last minute, Bambang was just off the mark as his header went wide.
The situation got worse for Indonesia soon after the break. Singapore struck another quick goal, this time four minutes into the
second half, this time through midfielder Shi Jiayi. The Chinese-born player curled the freekick around the wall and into the bottom corner of the Indonesian goal, well beyond the reach of Markus.
In the last few minutes, Indonesia could have pulled themselves back into the match but Aliyudin fumbled his shot in front of goal.
“We controlled much of the game, by my estimates about over 60 percent, but did not win the game. We had our chances but did not score, they had theirs and scored,” said Benny Dolo to the media after the game. “I am certainly not at all disappointed with my players. They pushed themselves to the maximum, and worked hard all the way but could not score.”
“We really wanted to win to day so we would be able to play away first,” Benny said.
Singapore coach Raddy Avramovic said it was a great game which all the fans enjoyed. “Two good teams were in action today. We used our chances and won the game. For Indonesia, it was just not their day.”
Avramovic had special praise for the defence whom he said played extremely well.”
Meanwhile, in the other Group A match held simulataneously in Bandung, Myanmar finished third in the standings after edging Cambodia 3-2. Myanmar led 2-1 at the break.