Forward Yabes Roni looks dejected as Malaysia advances to the final after beating Indonesia 1-0 in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games semifinal on Saturday (26/08). (Antara Photo/Wahyu Putro A.)

Indonesia Falls Short Against Malaysia in SEA Games Football Semifinal

BY :AMAL GANESHA

AUGUST 27, 2017

Jakarta. Indonesia's under-22 national team was beaten 0-1 by host Malaysia in the Southeast Asian Games men's football semifinal at Shah Alam Stadium in Selangor on Saturday (26/08).

Indonesia was playing without three key players – midfielder Muhammad Hargianto, center-back Hansamu Yama Pranata and striker Marinus Wanewar – due to suspensions. This prompted Indonesia coach Luis Milla Aspas to change the team composition by fielding Hanif Sjahbandi in the midfield, left-back Ricky Fajrin to center-back, and Ezra Walian at the front.

Malaysia had the first chance in the game with talisman Nadarajah Thanabalan failing to score in a counterattack after only six minutes of play.

Indonesia's Yabes Roni replied seven minutes later with a low-shot rebound after Malaysian goalie Muhammad Haziq Nadzli came out to punch away a cross-ball. However, the chance was wasted as the shot was cleared by a Malaysian defender.

Indonesian goalkeeper Satria Tama made two crucial saves in the 29th minute. The first when he tipped a cross to deny Thanabalan, who was just centimeters away from the goal to make a header.

Seconds later, Tama did an incredible flying save to prevent a volley from Jafri Firdaus Chew from ripping the net.

Indonesian playmaker Evan Dimas nearly ended the deadlock in the 63rd minute when he struck from inside the box after receiving a cut-back from Febri Hariyadi.

Two minutes later, Jafri again threatened the Indonesians, but this time his header went a few inches wide.

Malaysia finally scored the winning goal in the 86th minute when Thanabalan made a free header after a corner kick by teammate Noor Azam Azih.

Indonesian substitute Osvaldo Haay was brought down in the Malaysian box in injury time, but referee W.K. Lakmal Weerakkody of Sri Lanka had no interest in awarding a penalty.

Malaysia had less dominance in the game with only 43 percent ball possession, compared to Indonesia's 57 percent. However, both teams recorded four shots on target.

Malaysia will go for gold on Tuesday against Thailand, who also won by 1-0 in the other semifinal match on Saturday. Indonesia and Myanmar will fight it out for the bronze medal, also on Tuesday.

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