Indonesia made the finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 when they held off a resilient ten-man Vietnam 2-2 to win the two-legged semi-finals 4-3 here at the My Dinh National Stadium.

The score in the first-leg, semi-finals a few days earlier in Bogor was 2-1.

“Vietnam were the better team but we made it up with good organisation and determination,” said Indonesian head coach Alfred Riedl.

“It is definitely sweet going into the final. And today, we had to fight for luck. We conceded two goals through set-pieces and it was hard to defend against that.”

As expected, Vietnam started the tie strongly as they utilised the triumvirate of Le Cong Ving, Nguyen Van Quyet and Nguyen Van Toan for a run at the Indonesian defence.

With Indonesia using only captain Boaz Salossa as the only lone striker upfront, they were back pedalling for the most part as the Indonesian defence working over-time for the clearance.

Vu Van Thanh tested Indonesian keeper Kurnia Mega Hermansyah early with a stiff grounder as a miscommunication between Van Quyet and Van Toan denied a glorious chance.

Vietnam to continue to press on with Cong Vinh moving into a deeper position in support of the two strikers as Kurnia Mega made saves after saves to deny the home team.

Into the second, Indonesia finally managed to push forward and in the 54th minute they surprised the home team with the lead when Salossa floated in the cross which the Vietnam defence failed to clear and for Stefano Lillipaly to stab home.

With Lillipaly unable to finish things off ten minutes later, Vietnam’s decision to bring in Vu Minh Tuan and striker Nguyen Cong Phuong proved decisive even though they had to play with ten men following the red card on goalkeeper Tran Nguyen Manh for a kick on Bayu Andriatmoko in the 76th minute.

Defender Que Ngoc Hai stepped back to take up the position in between the post.

That failed to change Vietnam’s determination as Van Thanh blasted in the playback from a freekick in the 83rd minute to draw the game 1-1.

 And with Indonesia just sitting back, Vietnam once again got the goal they were looking for to push the game into extra time when Minh Tuan blasted in from the edge of the box to send the 40,000 fans into rapturous delight.

With the score at 2-1 to Vietnam, the aggregate score stood at 3-3.

Into extra time, Indonesia came out a lot more to make full use of their numerical advantage where in the 96th minute, they earned a penalty when substitute striker Ferdinan Alfred was brought down inside the box by stand-in goalkeeper Ngoc Hai.

Defender Manahati Lestusen blasted in to the left to beat Ngoc Hai to put the score at 4-3 to Indonesia’s advantage.

Fast tiring, Vietnam tried to push forward but with a man down, they just could not muster that little bit extra for the equaliser as Indonesia celebrate their entry into the final for the first time since 2010.

“My sincere and also the team’s apologies to all Vietnam fans for not being able to win this game and put us in the final,” added Vietnam head coach Nguyen Huu Thang.

“We were unlucky, we could not get the result that we wanted. And we are really sorry.” 


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