Friday, July 29, 2011


Indonesia v Turkmenistan 4-3

Last night was a night of the unexpected. Nobody expected a crowd of 88,000, least of all PSSI officials who had apparently only prepared 64,00 tickets.

Nobody expected Indonesia to come flying out the traps and dominate the first half in the complete manner they did.

But in another way it was wholly predictable. Put any defense under sustained pressure and the chances are they will soon wilt. Indonesia's back line is no exception. Granted the Turkmenistan threat wasn't that great through most of the game but they showed glimpses of what they were capable of.

Two goals in the last few minutes gave the Indonesian support palpitations as the home team struggled to get even the basics of football right. Don't give the bloody ball to the other team.

How much of an impact did Indonesia's substitutions have on the climatic final few minutes that almost saw their World Cup hopes extinguished before they had even started.

On 78' captain Firman Utina and wide man M Ilham, who had scored Indonesia's goal in the 1st leg, were replaced by Tony Sucipto and Oktavianus Maniani. The score was 4-1, for the home team it should have been a case of what we have we hold. Sucipto can do that in the middle of the park. But Okta?

Okta came into the Indonesian squad during the AFF Cup last year and created an immediate impact alongside Irfan Bachdim. For a new generation of fans these two were Indonesia! Okta is a runner in the Forrest Gump mould. Just faster. Tell him to run and run he wil though you had better point out which way you want him to run.

Sticking him up front alongside a tiring Boas Solossa, you could see what coach Wim Rijsbergen was trying to achieve. Keep the Turkmen nervous at the back, let them face a bit of pace in the dying stages.

Instead of holding the ball, instead of working the ball to the corner flag and keeping it there to run down the clock they would attack pell mell, lose the ball then hope nothing developed with the counter.

Still, it's water under the bridge now. The records will show Indonesia won 4-3 on the night, 5-4 on aggregate and now await Saturday's draw knowing they will have to face one of Australia, Japan, South Korea, Bahrain and North Korea along with two other nations.

Seedings are based on FIFA July Rankings . North Korea in pot 4 like Indonesia..
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