Indonesia bounced back from their first match defeat in Group A to beat Cambodia 6-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium tonight to keep their hopes of making the semi-finals of the SEA Games alive.
The Indonesians put their troubles off the pitch behind them as they scored twice in the first half before adding further goals after the break for the comprehensive victory.
“The performance is a definite improvement from the loss against Myanmar (in the first match,” said Indonesian assistant coach M. Zein Al Haddad.
“We know that this is one game which we cannot afford to lose as otherwise it will make the remaining matches even harder. The team was good in the passing, in defence and also when they go into the attack.
“We are very pleased with the overall performance.”
Certainly, Indonesia did not show any of the hang-over from the first match defeat to Myanmar. Or that the FIFA suspension on PSSI were having any adverse effect as Indonesia went firing on all pistons right from the very first whistle.
Through the triumvirate of Evan Dimas Darmono, Ahmad Nufiandani and also Muchlis Syaifulloh maintaining a constant pressure on the Cambodian backline, it was a matter of time before they nailed the opener.
Adam Setyano broke through from the left for a grounder that was flicked into the Cambodian goal by Muchlis.
With Cambodia choosing to play it defensive, it gave Indonesia more possessions and in the 37th minute, a brilliant solo run from Ahmad resulted in goal as he hoodwinked two defenders before unleashing a shot to beat keeper Um Serei Rath.
Cambodia changed their gameplan in the second half as captain Prak Mony Udo started to play it offensive and in the 56th minute, they earned a penalty when defender Saiful Indra Cahya was penalized for a pull on Ngoy Srin.
And Prak did not disappoint as he blasted the ball to the top right corner of the Indonesian goal.
But that was to be Cambodia’s only bright spark in the second half as Indonesia made it all their way with the third goal in the 68th minute – Muchlis making good on a defensive lapse.
Muchlis then completed his hat-trick with a rebound header in the 75th minute to put Indonesian comfortable at 4-1 in front.
Five minutes to the end saw a brilliant one-two between Muchlis and substitute Wawan Pebriyanto ending with the fifth goal as Evan finally got his name on the scoresheet with a simple tap-in.
“We already lost the match in the first half,” said Cambodian coach Lee Tae Hoon.
“We tried to play it defensive but Indonesia were brilliant today. They gave us a lot of problem. Our standard is still far from the top teams in the region even though we have made some improvements.”
In the meantime in the other group match at the Bishan Stadium, defending champions steamrolled past Brunei 5-0 to confirm their place in the semi-finals this year.
The Sultanate side simply had no answer to the Thai machinery as Chenrop Samphaodi grabbed a brace off goals in the 17th and 31st minute to be followed Thitiphan Puangjan (53rd), Tristan Do (71st) and Nurul Sriyankem (90th).
The win allowed Thailand to take over the top spot in Group B with 12 points from four matches played.
RESULTS – 6 June 2015
Thailand 5 Brunei 0
Indonesia 6 Cambodia 1