National U19 Team Stuck in Midfield as Espanyol Secure Comfortable Win

Egy Maulana Vikri, left, in action during the match against Espanyol B in Bandung, West Java, on Friday (14/07). (Antara Photo/Fahrul Jayadiputra)

By : Amal Ganesha | on 7:01 PM July 15, 2017
Category : Sports, Football

Jakarta. Indonesia's under-19 national football team was beaten 2-4 by Spanish club Espanyol B in a friendly match on Friday (14/07) at Bandung's Lautan Api Stadium in West Java.

Espanyol B, a reserve team of LaLiga's Espanyol, which comprises mostly youngsters, dominated all 90 minutes of the game with tight and disciplined positioning, making Indonesian midfield trio — Muhammad Iqbal, Luthfi Baharsyah and Witan Sulaeman — struggle to maintain fluidity in their area.

With goalie Muhammad Riyandi's lack of distribution skills and his team's imbalanced flow on the left side, Indonesia has not even once fully possessed the ball.

Espanyol scored the first goal after just three minutes, with Alex Bermejo's penalty after Indonesia's captain Rachmat Irianto's foul.

Within five minutes, Indonesia equalized in a counter attack, thanks to hot prospect Egy Maulana Vikri who ran with the ball from the halfway line and deceived a defender before conquering goalkeeper Eduardo Frias.

In the 18th minute, right-back Rifad Marasabessy wrongly anticipated a pass in the box, which made it easy for Australian-born striker Daniel Wong to score.

Rifad, a graduate of "football village" Tulehu in Maluku, after 62 minutes skipped two Espanyol defenders on the right of the box, before his shot was tipped away by Frias.

Espanyol's Victor Gomez added to the lead with a clinical finish after a cross from the left flank in the 64th minute. Two minutes later, Arnou Gaixas scored the fourth goal with a header after a corner kick.

Indonesia scored another goal, with Egy, who has rejoined the team after a senior's call-up, through a penalty kick in the 72nd minute after hand ball.

"I feel satisfied with the match. Even though we lost, we'll learn from such pressure," Indonesia's U19 coach Indra Sjafri said after the final whistle.

"Espanyol was pressing us since the beginning and my boys struggled to attack and overcome their big postures. If they get used to play on the level of Espanyol, they'll find it easier when playing on lower levels. They will also improve their standards."

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