Indonesian players celebrate a goal during the semifinal match of the AFF Championship against Singapore at the National Stadium, December 25, 2021. (Photo Courtesy of the Asean Football Federation)
Indonesia into AFF Cup Final after Dramatic Extra-Time Win over Singapore
BY :THE JAKARTA GLOBE
DECEMBER 25, 2021
Singapore. Indonesia secured a place in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup final after netting two goals in extra-time against eight-men Singapore in a thrilling semifinal match at the National Stadium on Christmas day.
Indonesia went ahead early on but they were trailing during most of the second half when the host team was already reduced to nine men.
Singapore meanwhile wasted a chance of winning the second leg of the semifinal in normal time with Faris Ramli missing a last-minute penalty at 2-2 due to a brilliant performance by Indonesian goalkeeper Nadeo Argawinata.
Indonesian coach Shin Tae-yong summed up the game as a quick move “from heaven to hell”.
Indonesia has never won the AFF Cup since it was held in 1996 despite being in the final five times before the current tournament.
In their sixth final-match appearance, Indonesia will face the winner of another decider between Thailand and Vietnam, with the former already having a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.
All matches were held in Singapore under the modified format due to the Covid-19 pandemic and there is no away goal advantage if both legs end in a draw.
After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, both teams showed some attacking football right after kickoff and it was the visitors who first took the lead courtesy of a goal from Ezra Walian 11 minutes into the game.
During the stoppage time of the first half, Singapore suffered another blow when Safuwan Baharudin was shown a second yellow card while Song Ui-young netted a goal as the hectic Indonesian defense failed to clear a free-kick.
The host team was reduced to nine men early in the second half after Irfan Fandi also received a red card for a foul against Irfan Jaya but somehow they managed to retake the lead in the 74th minute following a fantastic free-kick by Shahdan Suleiman.
Pratama Arhan leveled the score once again three minutes before the regulation time and goalkeeper Nadeo dived to his left to deny a last-minute penalty by Faris, meaning the game had to continue to extra-time.
The visitors immediately took the lead thanks to an own goal from Shahwal Anuar just 30 seconds into the extra-time and Egy Maulana capitalized on the exhausted home squad to fire home from close range.
Goalkeeper Hassan Sunny became the third host player to be sent off after he brought down Irfan Jaya outside his box in the second period of the extra time.
“Both teams fought really hard and we were literally going from heaven to hell in the match,” coach Shin Tae-yong was quoted in the AFF website as saying shortly after the match.
“We are a relatively young side and when we had an advantage we need to learn how to play calmly so we must try to improve from here,” the Korean added.