First Half: Thailand 0-2 Indonesia
The stage was set, the stadium full and the regions two best teams were set to go head to head for a gold medal. For some of the players on the field, none older than 22 of course, this was the biggest occasion of their career so far.
The first five minutes of any final are usually cagey with both teams wanting to get a feel for the game before making any moves, a thunderous tackle on the sidelines in front of the Indonesian fans was a sign of things to come and gave us the clearest indication of the kind of night we were in for.
Santana has been sensational all tournament and he was the first to to test Thai GK, Rakyart, with a shot from just inside in the box. Both teams were getting in behind the other and creating chances however it was the crunching 50/50 battles that were getting the biggest cheers from crowds. The Olympic stadium had become a cauldron and you just knew at any moment things were going to boil over. On 20 minutes Santana gave Indonesia the lead. That weapon of a long throw Indonesia have been using to great effect worked again. Santana with the a volley although a deflection off a Thai defender guaranteed the ball ended in the net. Shot after shot rained down on both goals, the Thais reaction was superb. They were simply changing gears. A double substitution on 30 minutes would suggest they noticed either an issue on their own system or one in their opponents and wanted to exploit it. Whichever it was it wouldn’t matter, this game was only going to get faster and more heated. At half time the simplest of goals would give Indonesia a cushion to go in at halftime with a bigger smile. A long kick down field saw both Thai defenders back pedaling and both hesitant to attack the bal, Santana didn’t wait for an invite nipping in and looping the ball over Rakyart who was caught in no man’s land. Not for the first time in the game or the last.
Second Half: Thailand 2-2 Indonesia
The second half started with no caution from either team. Crushing tackles, elbows flying everywhere and even the two coaching teams were screaming at eachother. Thailand began to exert some force on the game and on the hour mark pulled one goal back. A corner from the left, swung outwards and Yodsanwal rose to head home. It was game on now and boiling point. Tackle after tackle flying in. No one player was spared. The referee had managed to control everything superbly well but never in a million years could he predict what was about to happen to him.
SEVEN minutes added time. The Thai fans cheered. They knew there was time. Indonesia were defending deeper and deeper and almost snatched a third on a counter attack. The clock hit 97 minutes just as Thai midfielder Poeiphimai was fouled. The referee blew his whistle. The Indonesian bench jumped up to celebrate, a couple of their players also began to. The referee had blown for a free kick. Poeiphimai launched a quick free kick 80 yards up field, the ball nodded down, the Indonesian bench in disarray and Burapha forced himself through 4 defenders before smashing home to make it 2-2. He wheeled of in celebration and the stadium erupted. it would take another 7 minutes before the game could be restarted.
Extra Time: Thailand 2-5 Indonesia
Extra Time will be remembered for the wrong reasons but hopefully it won’t be the only reason this game is one we’re talking about in years to come. The football was spectacular.
Just 3 minutes into extra time Jauhari became the joint top scorer of the tournament when he pounced on another defensive error from Thailand. The ball going under the foot of the defender Jauhari took two touches to speed away and with the most beautiful touch lifted the ball over the keeper and into the net. What followed were scenes that don’t belong in football or mainstream society. A full scale brawl started on the benches between the coaches and then all 22 players joining in. A total of 16 people were given red cards. 2 Thai players and 1 Indonesian, 7 Coaches and staff members and 6 substitutes were also sent away. The Indonesian physio was hospitalized and could barely walk.
once the game was able to be restarted the Indonesians pressed their one man advantage with Rahman firing home from 25 yards and Beckham sealed the victory, not before though Thailand saw Poeiphimai sent off to end the game with 8 men.
Did The Best Team Win?
Thailand are the best team in the region. Indonesia have been the best team of the tournament. Santana is top drawer. Rahman & Juahari are also unplayable at times. They deserved the gold medal.
This article is adapted from BPVE, (https://bpve.com/) reported and edited from the great team – Cambodia Sports Review. (https://www.cambodiasportsreview.com/)
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