19 December 2010

Indonesia 1 Philippines 0 - Gonzales fires Indonesia into final

Jakarta: Christian Gonzales secured Indonesia's place in the AFF Suzuki Cup final on Sunday, firing in the only goal as his side downed the Philippines 1-0 in the second leg of the semi-finals at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

The Uruguay-born striker netted his tournament-leading third goal just before half-time to complete a 2-0 aggregate win for the Indonesians, which set up a meeting in the final against Malaysia, who eliminated defending champions Vietnam on Saturday.

It will be a clash between two teams that have not previously won the AFF Suzuki Cup with the first leg in Kuala Lumpur on December 26 and the return match in Jakarta three days later.

Philippines coach Simon McMenemy named an unchanged starting line-up for a fourth game in a row but Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl made a change up front as forward Irfan Bachdim was replaced by Yongki Aribowo, who made his first appearance in the tournament.

Roared on by a capacity crowd that included Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesians began in the ascendancy. The first sign of real danger came after 11 minutes when Yongki turned past Philippines skipper Alexander Borromeo in midfield and played the ball through for Gonzalez, who beat the offside trap but failed to get to the ball ahead of goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

Although they trailed 1-0 in the tie, the Philippines failed to generate any concerted pressure and were limited to shots from long range in the first half. They failed to get their attempts anywhere near the target with Phil Younghusband, Chris Greatwich and Anton Del Rosario all firing over the crossbar.

The Indonesians started to turn their pressure into decent chances but Gonzales was guilty of flubbing two clear-cut chances midway through the first half. The Uruguay-born forward directed a diving header off a cross by Mohammed Nasuha directly at Etheridge and then failed to make any decent contact when he was found completely unattended in the six-yard box by Muhammad Ridwan's cutback from the right by-line.

Tempers boiled over in the 41st minute when Greatwich appeared to kick out at Ahmad Bustomi while both players were on the ground near the halfway line. It sparked off a scuffle between both sides with Greatwich eventually booked. The resulting free-kick found its way past the entire host Philippines defence to Gonzalez but the striker was unprepared to receive the ball and could only direct it wide of the target.

Gonzales had missed three clear-cut chances but he finally made one count two minutes before the break. His initial shot was blocked by Borromeo but the defender failed to get it clear and the ball broke right back to Gonzales who curled it at the second attempt past Etheridge into the top left corner of the net to become the leading scorer of the tournament with three goals.

Despite holding a two-goal advantage, the Indonesians continued to turn the screw at the beginning of the second half. Five minutes after the break Zulkifly Syukur fired an attempt from 25 metres straight at Etheridge. The goalkeeper knocked it down dangerously in front of himself and appeared to bowl over Yongky as they went for the loose ball. However, Bahraini referee Ali Hasan Abdulnabi decided not to whistle for a penalty.

With little left to lose, the Philippines began to exert greater pressure and nearly pulled a goal back in the 56th minute when Borromeo flicked Del Rosario's throw-in to Phil Younghusband, who guided his attempt over the crossbar.

With 20 minutes left, the ball fell to Del Rosario on the edge of the box. He put his shot on target but it was too close to Markus Harison to cause the goalkeeper any real problems.

The visitors' best opportunities arrived with just 10 minutes to go. Substitute Emelio Caligdong nearly put the ball past Markus after Hamka Hamzah had been caught in possession in his own box. Greatwich then headed wide after Borromeo had flicked on Del Rosario's long throw.

The Philippines' disappointing night was completed three minutes from time when Greatwich was sent off after receiving his second booking for a desperate lunge on Markus.



  1. The Filipino boys went out on their shield in battle AGAIN before 85,000 hostile crowd because the nation and the people that they are fighting for is out of touch with the rest of the world when it comes to providing an international standard stadia.. In spite of it, they battle courageously and earned respect from football powerhouse such as Indonesia and Vietnam. I commend and praise your brave efforts, hopefully the Azkals will be the tip of the arrow that will rip the opening and re-spark a national passion for the world's game of football since our forgotten RP futbol hero, Paulino Alcantara.

  2. Very painful defeat. Indonesia were beatable in both legs. Mcmenemy knew this and went out to win in both games as the Philippines did not lack any confidence. It was much more open rather than the defensive display in the Vietnam match which was i think the most focused and tactically perfect game the Philippines have ever played. But you can see they played their hearts out. I dont think you can ask more out of them. The Azkals are all heroes in my eyes.

  3. The Azkals played very well with good confidence, good defence, good tactics, but still unlucky to reach the final.

    I believe they will be better team in south-east asia in the next years.

    Good Match! Good Coach! Congratulations for Philippines Football...!


  4. @jay
    im totally not impressed with azkals in the 2nd leg. we don't have a passing game. if north korea was criticized during the world cup, I don't know how international pundits would say about the azkals. im impressed with gonzales! world class strike. i love the azkals. i'm just being objective, as i am a fan of world football.

  5. we dont need your stupid and nonsense comment here officer.
    Just marry GONZALES will you?
    Dont underappreciate those teams who made into the world cup because they shed blood just to get there. Its an honor to be there, that is against the better teams of the world so nobody cares about losing. They were all he best of the best.

    You're not a fan of football because you dont understand the value of world cup.

  6. whatever foo.. im buying a merah putih jersey. hate it. haha. get a life. punta ka sa mall. i got azkals jersey already.