In spite of all the drama, defending champions Thailand showed plenty of grit to hold Indonesia to a pulsating 1-1 draw in a crucial Group A tie of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium this evening.
With the drawn game, both Indonesia and Thailand inched closer to booking their place in the semifinals heading into their last group matches on 2 December 2023.
“We should have won this game but we did not. We had several clear chances and we should have taken it. Certainly, this is a lesson for the future,” said Indonesia head coach Shin Tae-yong.
After several near misses for both teams, the best chance in the first half came in the 38th minute when Witan Sulaeman dispossessed Thai keeper Kittipong Phoothawchuek outside the penalty area but the former just could not place the ball in spite of the open goal.
A frantic start to the second half saw Indonesia winning a penalty in the 50th minute when Thai captain Theerathon Bunmathan was faulted for handball and Mark Klok did not disappoint from the spot.
The loss of Sanrawat Dechmitr just after the hour mark for a late challenge did not deter Thailand from going all out and in the 79th minute, Sarach Yooyen punished some lackadaisical Indonesian defending to rifle in the equaliser past Nadeo Arga Winata.
“The players showed exceptional quality to come back from a goal down and that too, in front of the fervent Indonesian supporters. Certainly, it is positive progress for the team moving forward,” added Thailand head coach Alexandre Polking.
With Cambodia beating Brunei Darussalam 5-1 in the other Group A encounter, the result means Thailand stay top of the standings on goal difference ahead of Indonesia with both teams a point above the Cambodians with one match to play.
Thailand will round off their Group A campaign at home to Cambodia on 2 January 2023 while Indonesia face an away date in the Philippines with both teams needing a point to book their places in the final four.
In the meantime at the Morodok Techo National Stadium, hosts Cambodia came back from a goal down to beat Brunei Darussalam 5-1.
Nur Ikhwan Othman scored from a corner kick to give visitors Brunei DS the lead in the 21st minute, but Choun Chanchav headed in the equaliser for Ryu Hirose’s side 10 minutes later.
Taylor Nicholas (50th) and Keo Sokpheng (73rd) then scored from the penalty spot in the second half for Cambodia before Lim Pisoth’s double (80th and 89th minute) wrapped up an impressive 5-1 victory.
The Kouprey are third in Group A with six points from three games – one point behind Indonesia and Thailand.