Young Garuda squad loses to Thailand on penalties
Despite playing with 10 players in the second half, Indonesia’s young squad showed their battling mettle only to lose out to Thailand 3-2 in a penalty shootout in the semifinals of the 2017 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U-18 Youth Championship on Friday.
Indonesia’s coach, Indra Sjafri, offered his apology for failing to lead the squad to the next round in the tournament, Antara reported.
“My gratitude goes to our players, who have fought really hard, especially with only 10 men left in the second half.” Indonesia was one player down following the dismissal of Saddil Ramdani for elbowing an opponent.
“Indonesia, please accept our apology for this failure, and thank you for your support,” said Indra.
Thailand came out on top as the War Elephants performed slightly better in the shoot-out.
Indonesia produced the two successful shots from Egy Maulana Fikri and Luthfi Kamal Baharsyah, while Thailand scored from Nattawut Chootiwat, Chokanan Saima-in and Teerapat Laohabut.
“We created a lot of chances, but we failed to score. But this is soccer,” said Indra, as quoted by aseanfootball.org.
Indra revealed that he had trained his players for a penalties scenario, resulting in a selection of five shooters, including Feby Eka Putra.
“I took out Feby, because he got injured and had a cramp,” said Indra.
Luthfi said the team would now focus on winning third place. “We still have one match for third place, and we will do our best to win it.”
Indonesia will face Myanmar for the third-place honor. The host succumbed to Malaysia 4-5, also in a penalty shoot-out in the evening match.
Thailand’s coach Marc Palacios said: “Of course we are very happy to make the finals. We beat one of the biggest teams in this tournament. The win was not only down to the goalkeeper, who saved two penalties, but also to the other players in the team, who fought hard today.”
On yet another hot afternoon, both teams were in attack mode from the get-go, although Thailand was missed midfielder Ekanit Panya.
Combination work between Egy Maulana Vikri and Witan Sulaeman was aimed at terrorizing the Thais as early as the seventh minute, but to no avail. Thailand replied with Panyawat Nisangram’s header, a response to Nakin Wisetchai’s cross, but substitute keeper Aqil Savik was equal to the task.
Thailand continued to stay in its line and rarely pushed forward, but with Indonesia also failing to make any of its chances count, the game went into the penalty shoot-out, which ended in Thailand’s favor.
Cruel end: Indonesian players react after losing the ASEAN Football Federation U18 Championship 2017 semifinal match to Thailand in Yangon on Thursday. Indonesia lost 2-3 in a penalty shoot-out after the two teams played a 0-0 draw in regular time.