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Garuda spirit is still strong

Jakarta: Indonesia team manager Andi Darussalam has said that the spirit in the Indonesia squad remains positive despite the team facing a huge deficit against Malaysia in the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup final on Wednesday.

The Indonesian entered the tie as the heavy favourites after winning all of their games en route to the final including a 5-1 thumping of the Malaysians in their opening match.

But a 3-0 defeat in the first leg in Kuala Lumpur has left Alfred Riedl's side with a mountain to climb in order in the return match at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium to claim a long-awaited first AFF Suzuki Cup title.

"We know our position is not good because we are trailing by three goals and we will have to attack right from the start of the game tomorrow," said Darussalam to on Tuesday.

"But at the same time, we must also be careful in defence because we showed some weaknesses there in our last game and coach Riedl has been doing some work with our defenders to improve things in that area.

"We had conceded only two goals in the previous five games so I don't know what happened to our defence during the first leg. For their first goal, the ball should have been helped out of play by our defender (Maman Abdurachman). But suddenly, he was put under pressure by their forward (Norshahrul Idlan) and they managed to score.

"That's where the problems started for us because Malaysia then scored two quick goals after that which upset our players."

According to Darussalam, the players have regained some of their confidence after receiving strong support from the Indonesian fans after their return from KL on Monday.

"We began training soon after we got back from KL and we are all working to try to build up the confidence of the players again for the second leg.

"They are now in good shape as we had a training session this morning and the fans that were there were fantastic because they give a lot of encouragement to the players. The players do not want to let them down and we hope that they give good support to our team on Wednesday."

While the Indonesians have no injury problems, they will be without left winger Oktovianus Maniani, who is suspended after picking up his second yellow card of the knockout stage during the first leg of the final. He is likely to be replaced by Arif Suyono, who has yet to start a match at the tournament but has come on as a substitute in all six matches.