Alfred Riedl pleased with first-leg win as Indonesia fans go wild on social media
Head coach Alfred Riedl reckons Indonesia’s equaliser in their 2-1 win over Thailand in the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup final first leg was down to two things, the incredible fans and a bit of luck.
Defending champions Thailand took a first-half lead through Teerasil Dangda as the Garudas failed to show up as an attacking unit but things took a whole different direction in the second half when Rizki Pora’s deflected shot pulled them level before Hansamu Pranata made it 2-1.
While the Indonesians will likely miss star winger Andik Vermansyah for the second leg after he came off in the first half with what looked like a severe thigh injury, Riedl is thrilled with the response from the rest of his players.
“We did not play well in the first half against the best team in ASEAN but the equaliser for us changed the pace of the game,” Riedl told Fox Sports Asia.
“Sometimes in football, you need this type of goals and that gave us the turn that we needed in front of the fabulous fans here at the Pakansari Stadium.”
With the second leg coming up on Saturday at the Rajamangala Stadium in downtown Bangkok, Indonesian supporters were out in full force on social media, proud of their compatriots stunning victory as the hashtag #TimnasJuara, which means “champion team” trended worldwide with more than 50 million tweets.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo who attended the semifinal game at Bogor was unable to make it to the game as he was abroad but tweeted “Congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to the Indonesian national team” just minutes after the game ended.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla who was at the game made his way down at full-time to congratulate the Garudas but took to social media right after the game to warn that the job is only half done.
“Indonesian national team were incredible. The battle hasn’t finished yet, keep the spirit!” he said.
As Indonesia continue to rebuild their reputation at the international level following the FIFA ban, goalscorer Rizki led the team in his tribute to the ones who matter, the fans who played their role as the 12th men to perfection.
He told Jakarta Globe, “It was a tough game, because they led in the first half. I present my goal to all Indonesians.”