It has been a long 32 years but Indonesia are savouring every bit of the much-coveted gold medal in the men’s football event of the 32nd SEA Games last night at the National Olympic Stadium.
In the final, Indonesia showed that they are worthy champions after coming back from a roller coaster night that saw a handful of red cards being shown to both teams to emerge 5-2 triumphant over Thailand.
It was Indonesia’s only third gold medal in the event since the inception of the SEA Games in 1959.
Their last two victories came in 1987 (in Indonesia) and 1991 (in the Philippines).
The victory over Thailand in the final must have been all the more satisfactory for Indonesia considering the former have won the most number of gold medals in the event with 16.
The loss also signalled the second time in two editions that Thailand were denied the big prize after losing it in 2021 in Vietnam.
All pumped for the final decisive tie after strolling through the group stage and then serving a surprise on defending champions Vietnam in the semifinals, Indonesia were quick to race to a 2-0 lead at the break.
A long throw-in was headed into goal by Muhammad Ramadhan Sananta in the 21st minute as he then doubled the advantage at the end of the first half with a superb lob over the Thai goalkeeper.
But Thailand came fighting back after the breather with an Anan Yodsangwal 65th minute header from a corner and then a late injury time finish from Yotsakorn Burapha to push the game into extra time.
However, Irfan Jauhari then capitalised on a defensive mistake to score the third goal for Indonesia in the 91st minute as the match then took a wrong turn with players and officials from both sides involved in a fracas that led to several red cards being flashed.
With Thailand under pressure, Indonesia then took full advantage to score twice more through Muhammad Fajar Fathur Rahman’s firing finish in the 107th minute and then Beckham Putra’s opportunistic stab from close in the 120th minute of the game.
In the meantime, Vietnam gained some solace in the tournament this year with a 3-1 win over Myanmar to take the bronze medal.
Ho Van Cưong hit a brace (8th and 34th minute) to be followed by another from Khuat Van Khang (56th minute) as Myanmar’s only goal of the game came late in the 88th minute through Aung Myo Khant for the final score.
Photos Courtesy #PSSI #VFF