Indonesia snatched a narrow 2-1 lead in the first-leg, semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup against Vietnam at the Pakansari Stadium here tonight.

The Indonesians, backed by over 30,000 fans including the country’s President Jokowi, had a dream start when Hansamu Yama Pranata scored with a header in the sixth minute.

“It was a very interesting game, high speed and very entertaining,” said Indonesian head coach Alfred Riedl afterwards.

“I thought that we struggled at the end but the players stood firm for the slight advantage that we have for the return leg in Hanoi.”

But Vietnam recovered to equalise in the 17th minute when Ngueyn Van Quyet converted a penalty after Le Cong Vinh was brought down by Beny Wahyudi inside the box.

That would not be the only penalty of the game. Three minutes into the second half, Indonesia were themselves awarded a spot kick when Stefano Lilipaly was tackled by Que Ngoc Hai. 

Skipper Boas Salossa slammed his shot left which Vietnam keeper guessed correctly but was not able to clear.

That precious goal could make a world of difference when they travel to Hanoi for the return leg.

It was a tremendous first half with Indonesia snatching an early goal. In the first corner kick of the game, Hansamu Yama Pranata rushed in and connected with a smashing header, which had the 30,000 fans screaming in delight.

Vietnam did not let the goal get them down and quickly regrouped and were soon making their way forward. 

In the 17th minute, defender Beny Wahyudi appeared to grab Le Cong Vinh in the box. Referee Gillet Jarred Evans from Australia pointed to the spot and booked Beny. 

Striker Quyet whipped it low to the right as keeper Kurnia Meiga Hermansyah went the other way.

Indonesia continued to hunt for more goals and missed a great chance when Andik Vermansyah’s long range strike dipped too late.

A few minutes from the break, Stefano Lilipaly watched as his freekick, awarded after Boaz was brought down, curved too far to the left.

Six minutes into the second half and Indonesia won a penalty when Lillipaly was brought down inside the box. And from the spot, Boaz do not need a second invite to put it away.

Vietnam did not lose shape as they continued much in the same way as they had done as the pressed the Indonesian defence hard. 

Cong Vinh came close on several occasions but Indonesia were not about to be denied in front of their home fans.

“In spite of the result, I am happy with my players and how they played. They did really well, so I have no complain,” added Vietnam head coach Alfred Riedl.

“There’s still another 90 minutes to play for in Hanoi, so I expect us to be more competitive.”


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