AFC - Indonesia secured a hard-fought 2-0 win over Islamic Republic of Iran in their opening AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 Group C match at the National Stadium on Friday.
With a partisan crowd cheering their team on, Indonesia went ahead in the fourth minute when Mochammad Supriadi broke free on the left flank and laid off a square pass to Amiruddin Bagus Alfikri, who had the easiest of finishes to put Indonesia in front.
A minute later, IR Iran came close to equalising with Mahdi Seyedi's glancing header but Indonesia goalkeeper Ernando Ari Sutaryadi kept a cool head to make the save.
IR Iran found it hard to break down their opponents as Indonesia operated as a tight unit and were adept at defending.
Boosted by the advantage, Indonesia controlled the pace of the match and were comfortable keeping possession as they came close to doubling their advantage in the 24th minute but Amanar Abdillah pulled his shot just wide off the left post.
IR Iran took their time to settle into the match and in the 25th minute Abolfazl Alizadeh tested Sutaryadi with a left-footed effort which forced the Indonesian custodian into a diving save.
Unfazed by IR Iran’s movement with the ball, Indonesia surged forward and were handed a golden opportunity in the 36th minute when Supriadi found himself in a one-on-one situation with IR Iran’s shot-stopper Amirhossein Nikpour who raced off his line to clear the danger.
Two minutes before the break, the young Team Melli pushed for an equaliser and Hossein Hajizadehkhorasani found space in the Indonesian penalty box before unleashing a powerful shot but his effort was parried to safety by Sutaryadi.
Indonesia showed off their attacking flair at the start of the second half as they kept up the pressure and almost scored their second goal in the 51st minute when Bagus broke free down the middle but with the goal at his mercy, Bagus missed the sitter.
IR Iran played with more confidence as the Central Asians created more chances but they were still unable to break the deadlock as Indonesia’s backline was rock solid.
In the 79th minute, captain David Maulana broke free on the left but his surging run was cut short by defender Amirhossein Azizi.
Shortly after, IR Iran were left exposed at the back and were caught by a counter attack but Bagus could not convert his effort, firing just wide of the right post.
IR Iran’s best effort in the half came in the 85th minute through a set-piece but Hossein Shaverdi’s curling free-kick missed its mark by a whisker.
With the referee signaling five minutes of additional time, Indonesia pressured IR Iran at the back and doubled the lead through Amirussin Bagas Arrizqi’s effort in the 90th minute to send the crowd into raptures.
Abbas Chamanian: Islamic Republic of Iran head coach
“Congratulations to the Indonesian team, they played very well. As expected they were difficult opponents, they have very good players in attack. Today the rain decreased our playing quality and we hope we can play better in our next match. We didn't play as expected and our focus now is against India. This games goes to history and we will learn something from this defeat.”
Fakhri Husaini: Indonesia head coach
“We are extremely happy to win the match. The boys played bravely, it was a big challenge to face Iran but confidence was high and we got the three points. I’m very proud of my players, they were able to match Iran's agility and last for the full 90 minutes without suffering cramps. This win is very meaningful for us and it is a good start. We don’t want to be too happy because we have to think about the next match.”
Comments powered by CComment