Indonesia beat Malaysia 2-1 in the AFF Suzuki Cup final second leg match at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta tonight. But that was not enough for them as Malaysia had won the first leg 3-0. Malaysia thus won the cup with a 4-2 aggregate.
Striker Safee Sali scored in the 52nd minute to put Malaysia 1-0 in the lead in the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup final. Mohammad Nasuh then equalised for Indonesia in the 71st minute. Indonesia’s Ridwan scored in the 87th minute to put his team 2-1 in the lead against Malaysia.
In the first half, Indonesia threw all it had at a gutsy Malaysian team. The Malaysian boys, however, held their ground and also survived a penalty miss by the hosts.
Earlier, it was a sea of red and white at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
Never has there been such an overwhelming show of support for “Timnas” (national team) Indonesia although they had lost to Malaysia 0-3 in the first-leg of the final in the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championships at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.
They stood behind the national team. It was a sell-out crowd of 88,000 spectators and mostly filled with red-hot hostile fans.
The police were at full force, too. Some 10,000 have been deployed to check on security in and out of the Bung Karno Stadium.
They had their armoured vehicles drive in near the pitch and showed that they were ready for any eventualities.
Indeed, it captured a real Cup final atmosphere with fans clad in the Indonesian national colours, fancy head gears and colourful banners. Uruguay-born striker Christian Gonzales, Indo-Dutch Irfan Bacdim and local hero Bambang Pamungkas were the crowd favourites.
There were also warning notices for fans not to bring banned items into the stadium, especially laser beam lights, which has stirred a controversy in the AFF Championships since Dec 1.
The stadium was filled to the brim two hours before the kick off. They were entertained to a live band performance by celebrities and artistes making it a carnival atmosphere.
Malaysian national coach K. Rajagopal, manager Datuk Subahan Kamal, assistant secretary of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) Kelly Sathiraj and assistant coach Tan Cheng Hoe were given a hostile reception when they trooped onto the pitch to check on the playing conditions.
The fans showed the thumbs down sign and jeered at them before their Indonesian counterparts led by Austrian coach Alfred Riedl was given a rousing welcome.
Hours before the kick off, the tense atmosphere could be felt outside The Sultan hotel where the Malaysian football team was staying.
It has been tense ever since the team arrived Monday and since Malaysia beat the Indonesians 3-0 in Sunday’s AFF Suzuki Cup final first leg at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Since morning, red-shirted Indonesian fans began to arrive in large numbers at the stadium. Some had been camping there the whole night. Car horns were blaring most of the day, with traffic almost coming to a standstill.
Malaysian team manager Datuk Subahan Kamal said they have been provided with adequate security and even given a senior police officer to attend to the team’s needs round-the-clock.
“The mood is good inside (the team) but we are quite worried what is going to happen outside. I was told that it is tensed out there.
“The Indonesian fans are upset with our victory in the first-leg at Bukit Jalil,” Subahan said.
Coach K. Rajagopal advised the boys to remain focused and not get distracted by the happenings outside.
On Tuesday, the team’s final training at the Senayan C ground was called off due to security concerns.
Even their plans to train at an alternative venue backfired when they got caught in a traffic jam. Rajagopal was left with no other choice but to concentrate on light training at the hotel grounds.
There were reports of Indonesian fans mobbing them with banners carrying anti-Malaysia slogans during the training at the hotel ground.