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Indonesia edge Philippines to reach AFF Cup finals

By Vu Duc - The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Dec 20,2010,22:37 (GMT+7)
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Defending champions Vietnam eliminated, Malaysia through

By Vu Duc - The Saigon Times Daily

Indonesia's Cristian Gonzales (L) challenges Philippines Anton Edward Del for the ball during their second leg semi-final match at the 2010 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) 2010 soccer tournament in Jakarta on Sunday - Photo: Reuters
HCMC – Host Indonesia reached the final game of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 after defeating Philippines 1-0 in the second leg semifinal at Geloga Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday.

The superb goal by Uruguayan-born striker Cristian Gonzales in the 42nd minute gave the Indonesian side a fifth consecutive victory in the championship that set up a final with Malaysia, who tied champions Vietnam 0-0 on Saturday to win a 2-0 on aggregate.

The Filipinos entered the game with a huge task of scoring at least 2 goals and keeping their net clean if they were to go into the final. If the Philippines scored just a single goal and keep a clean sheet against Indonesia, the match would go to extra time and a penalty shootout later.

Meanwhile, the Indonesians only needed a draw to advance to the finals, having beaten the Philippines 1-0 in the first leg semifinal on Thursday at Geloga Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.

However, what took place on the field on Sunday were beyond the Philippines.

The Indonesians placed pressure on their opponents in the first minutes while coach Simon McMenemy’s team played aggressively right in the beginning but no goals were scored in 40 minutes of the first half.

The joy just came in the 42nd minute when Gonzales, who scored the only goal for the Indonesian side in the 31st minute in the first leg semifinal, easily defeated Filipino goalie Neil Etheridge with a unstoppable free-kick from outside the penalty box.  

Both sides had some scoring chances in the second half but all their kicks were denied by the Indonesian goalkeeper Markus Rihihina and Filipino goalie Neil Etheridge.

Philippines played with ten men in the last minutes of the game when striker Chris  Greatwich was sent off with a second yellow card. The hosts exploited this advantage and put more pressure on the Filipino defending line but their forwarders failed to score.

With the victory, three-time finalists Indonesia made their fourth appearance in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup.
This year’s biennial ASEAN championship will see new champions as none of the former champions reached the finals.

Indonesia will travel to Kuala Lumpur for the first leg of the final on December 26, with the return match in Jakarta on December 29.

* Defending champions Vietnam ended their campaign at AFF Suzuki Cup after tying 0-0 in their second leg semifinal against Malaysia at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Saturday, giving their archrivals a 2-0 aggregate victory to go through to the finals.

Vietnam’s coach Henrique Calisto made some changes from a 0-2 loss to Malaysia in the first leg at Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, goalkeeper Duong Hong Son replacing Bui Tan Truong while midfielders Phan Van Tai Em, Nguyen Trong Hoang and defender Doan Viet Cuong made the lineup from the beginning. 

Though Malaysia beat Vietnam 2-0 in the first leg, coach K. Rajagobal seemed cautious, saying before the game that despite their 2-0 victory in their home ground, they should concentrate, not letting Vietnamese players upset them.

Vietnam were on the attack from the start of the game in search of a goal. The home side players dominated the ball possession throughout the first half but Malaysian goalie Khairul Fahmi denied all of their efforts.

It was just a one-way game as Malaysia players resiliently held out to keep a clean sheet. However, Vietnam faced more difficulties when midfielder Pham Thanh Luong was sent off with his second yellow card in the 72nd minute.

South Korean referee Kim Sang-woo decided a second yellow card after the midfielder deliberately flopped in the penalty box while Malaysian defender Kunanlan did not touch him.

Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto replaced striker Nguyen Viet Thang with Nguyen Anh Duc, and added forward Nguyen Quang Hai to the front line in the last minutes. The Vietnamese players continued to dominate but failed to convert any opportunities in last minutes. Malaysia reached the AFF Suzuki Cup finals for the first time since 1996.

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Giấy phép Báo điện tử số: 321/GP-BTTT, cấp ngày 26/10/2007
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