NAYPYITAW - Indonesia reigned supreme in the penalty shootout in this evening’s semifinal clash against Malaysia at the Zayar Thiri Stadium to destroy the defending champions’ hopes of winning their third successive SEA Games gold medal.
Malaysia and Indonesia were tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes. Despite their best efforts to get more goals, the score remained unchanged, forcing the game into the shootout. The Malaysians blew up when they missed the first two penalties.
Indonesia on the other hand, kept their composure and went on to win the shootout 4-3 to set up a final showdown either against Thailand or Singapore who face each other later tonight.
For Indonesia, tonight’s win somewhat made up for their defeat two years ago. Malaysia then surprised Indonesia in front of over 100,000 fans in Jakarta to claim the SEA Games gold medal. Two years on here in Myanmar, Indonesia got their revenge.
“I’m thankful to god that we defeated them this time. Two years ago it was different, the players were nervous about taking the penalties. This time we were ready for this,” said coach Rachmad Darmawan, who was also the coach in charge two years ago.
“In the first half we played well in all sectors. But in the second half, we allowed Malaysia the chances. We had one practice session yesterday on taking penalties. Still, we were lucky today when Malaysia missed the first two.”
He was referring to Thamil Arasu and Mohd Saad Shahrul who missed the first two attempts. Thamil had incidentally been the one who scored the equalizer in the 85th minute which forced the game into extra-time.
Indonesia had earlier taken the lead through Bayu Gatra Sanggiawan on the half hour mark.
“Thamil and Mohd Saad should not be blamed for this. I will take full responsibility for our performance here. The players have done their part and have shown great character otherwise we would not have made the semifinals,” said Datuk Ong Kim Swee who stressed that the team had a good game and only lost out in the shootout.
“Penalties can go any which way.”