Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Indonesian Football Team in AFF Suzuki Cup 2010

      AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 or previously known as Tiger Cup, the football tournament for south-east Asia countries has at last ended, bringing Malaysia, the Malayan Tiger, as the champion of this tournament. In this  opportunity, I am interested to summarize the matches Indonesia(TIMNAS)played during the tournament, convey my personal opinion of the Indonesia’s performance
in the AFF Suzuki Cup. A bit late may be, but this is my thought.

1. Versus Malaysia
     Indonesia was in the same group with another three strong teams in the group qualification. There were Malaysia, Laos and Thailand. Powered by two newly imported players; Christian Gonzales and Irfan Bachdim, Indonesia started the tournament so fantastically. Opened the tournament by demolishing Malaysia 5-1 was a fabulous victory over the Malayan Tiger. Suffered from being left by 1 goal at the beginning of the match, it didn’t drop the power of the Garuda’s(how fans call Indonesian team)claw to be stabbed at the Malayan Tiger’s body. Powered by the strong visional midfielder, Firman Utina, Indonesia kept threating Malaysian goal. Opened with an own goal by a Malaysian defender, Indonesia seemed not to face difficulties to net more goals. Finally the game ended with Indonesia’s victory 5-1 over Malaysia. Though, in my personal view the team had not played very well. They seemed still not to play as a team and (honestly) sloppy and monotonously in some moments. I hope that I was wrong.

2. Versus Laos
       Laos was only a worm in south-east Asia, but they had transformed into a stronger team lately. This was started since they were handled by currently managing Indonesia’ s manager, Alfred Riedl. At the beginning of the game, seen that Indonesia faced strong wall to break Laos’s defense. Moreover, Laos spread threat every time they had chance on counter attacks. Though, Garuda showed their lucky superiority by forcing Laos’s goal keeper to take the ball from his own goal. I said lucky superiority as Garuda had not shown the quality as a champion. Nevertheless, there was progress shown by Indonesia in this game. This game ended with Indonesia’s victory on bundles of goals.

3. Versus Thailand

      Thailand used to send shiver to their opponents. Team that once ever defeated Indonesia in a few years ago’s Tiger Cup final. Their superiority in the south east Asia was undeniable. Powered by talented players, who could deny the tremble delivered? Ironically, Thailand’s performance during the current AFF Cup was not so impressive. Stumbled in the group qualification was not the quality they used to have. Facing Indonesia in the last game in the group qualification meant a furious meeting for both teams. From Thailand’s side, not only had to win the game, but they still had to wait the result of the other game(Malaysia Vs Laos). From Indonesia’s side, they needed to fix their performance and avenge their previous losts. Even though the result would meant nothing for Indonesia(as they had secure one place in the semi final) the game ran tightly. Most influential Thailand’s Midfielder, Datsakorn Thonglao seemed to be losing his creativity in organizing lethal attacks. Finally, the game ended with 2-0 of Indonesia’s victory. Goals were from Bambang Pamungkas’s penalty. Indonesia went to the semi final with flawless results(even in my personal opinion the performance was still not showing the quality of a true champion)

4. Semi Final, Versus Philippine
       Philippine, showed a fabulous performance during the tournament, emerged from the burial. Having no history of passing the group qualification, this team had transformed into a strong team, powered by the imported players from Europe. Those players were all recruited to be Philippines from some other European country.
      The games were held in two rounds, home and away. This turned into a bit silly thing when all the games, both home and away were all played in Indonesia because Philippine had no standard stadium.
The first game ran very tightly in Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta. Both teams spread threat to the opponent. Personally speaking, I still saw a monotonous attacking pattern from Indonesia. Sending direct long passes forward seemed to be boring to watch. It is true that Firman Utina was an influential player in Indonesia’s side during this tournament but always sending direct long passes to the strikers wasn’t only boring for the supporters(especially me)but also easy to be anticipated by the Philippine’s defense. Though, the monotonous passes finally brought goal through Christian Gonzales’s heading. Not only great view and vision of the game by both Firman Utina and Christian Gonzales, but misunderstanding between Philippine’s defense and goal keeper also fundamental in the emergence of the goal. Then, whom should we be thankful for the goal to?Gonzales or Philippine’s goal keeper? Leading by a goal, both teams played a better till the end of the game.
In the second round, both teams showed a better entertaining game. And again, Chistian Gonzales volunteered a goal to his new country, Indonesia. Sending powerful ball torpedo through his preferred left foot, he embarrassed Philippine’s goal keeper for the second time. Indonesia then went to the final flawlessly, winning all the games they played.

5. Final Match, Versus Malaysia
      The final was also done in home-away format. The first game was held at Malaysia, Bukit Jalil Stadium (a creepy name for a sport stadium, I reckon). In this game, frankly speaking, I totally cannot say that Indonesian defense played well. This was anti-climax with how the defense played compared with the match against Philippine. Many blunders were made that giving chances to the Malaysian attackers/strikers. Thumbs had to be given to all Malaysian legion as they were not burdened at all with the result they had had in the first match, group qualification, that they suffered many goals from Indonesia. They showed a Spartan spirit. Powered by full concentration of the defenders, creative and strong midfielder and deadly strikers(this, we have to admit the fact), the Malayan tigers really performed the spirit of final match. On the contrary, Indonesia looked like that they faced indescribable boundaries. Basic mistakes, blunders, and dull attack were totally NOT Indonesia. I was wondering what was wrong.
       It was a shame that the Malaysian supporters cheated the Indonesian goalkeeper, Markus Harizon. The supporters used laser, flashed right onto Markus’s eyes that somehow distracted the concentration (not only for Markus himself, but also the defenders, I think). Well, there’s no intention to blame on the laser, or making this as a scape goat behind the lost but it was true that Indonesia wasn’t playing on its form as shown in the game against Philippine.
Finally, the prayer (or cheat?) of Malaysia’s supporters came true. Malaysian striker netted a goal a few minutes after the flash of the laser. Then, goals were easily produced as Indonesia’s mentality dropped down by the first goal. Malaysia beat Indonesia by 3-0.
      The second match of the final was played in Indonesia. Playing as a host, there was a fright that the Indonesia’s supporters (hooligans) would make violence due to the revenge on how Malaysia’s supporters had done on the first final. Moreover, there was also problem in ticket selling for the final. The supporters who didn’t get ticket were likely to be vandals. They protested and demanded more tickets. Nonsense, for the capacity of the stadium would not be able to accommodate all the supporters. But the fact was speaking else. The Indonesian supporters were so fair. They witnessed the true spirit of Indonesian Team. All the players were fighting all hearted. It’s so human that there were errors during that tight match. Blunders still happened; even one of them could be well-converted into a goal by Malaysian deadly striker, Safee. One goal deficit, Indonesia fought all the best to demolish the Malaysian defense. Two goals were netted. Indonesia won 2-1, but it wasn’t enough to bring the trophy home. Indonesia was still lost in aggregate by 4-2. And finally Malaysia became the champion of the tournament. New champion has been born. Congratulation to the MALAYAN TIGER for being a new champion. But GREAT SALUTE to the spirit of the GARUDA, Indonesia Team. You didn’t get the trophy but you won the true victory.

**Please correct me in case I mentioned wrong match's result(Can hardly remember all the results) and also grammar or anything worth revision. cheers..

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