Indonesia bests Vietnam, advances to Suzuki Cup finals
HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam and Indonesia drew 2-2 after extra time in the second leg of the Suzuki Cup semi-final Wednesday, December 7, ensuring the Garuda a spot in the final after a hard-fought battle against the Golden Stars.
Indonesia's star striker Stefano Lilipaly drew first blood in the 54th minute after a first half that saw no goals at Hanoi's My Dinh stadium packed with a raucous crowd splashed with red and yellow, the colors of Vietnam's flag.
The goal kicked off an action-packed second half before Vietnamese goalkeeper Tran Nguyen Manh was given a red card in the 76th minute.
Having already used its substitutions, Vietnam's Manh handed his gloves to defender Que Ngoc Hai to step in for him.
With only 10 players on the pitch, the home team scored twice – including a shock goal by Vu Minh Tuan in injury time at the end of the second half, drawing electric cheers from fans across the city.
Vietnam's Vu Van Thanh scored earlier in the 83rd minute.
But Indonesia's Manahati Lestusen scored a fateful goal with a penalty kick in extra time, clinching a spot in the AFF final against either Thailand or Myanmar on December 14.
Even as some 40,000 fans started to file out of My Dinh stadium, dedicated crowds chanted "Vietnam" despite the heartbreak.
Vietnam coach Nguyen Huu Thang said his side had an unlucky night, and fell on his sword over the loss.
"I and all players would like to send our sincere apology to all Vietnamese soccer fans," he was quoted as saying in Thao Van Hoa newspaper.
"Being the head coach, I take full responsibility for today's loss. That's my personal mistake. I am sorry."
Indonesia on Saturday beat Vietnam 2-1 at home in the first leg of the semi-finals of the fiercely contested regional tournament.
Their aggregate score after Wednesday's draw was 4-3. Regional favorites Thailand are predicted to move onto the finals after they play Myanmar on Thursday.
Vietnam won the biennial AFF Suzuki Cup in 2008, and Indonesia has lost in the finals four times between 2000 and 2010. – Rappler.com