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Riedl praises team's effort


30-Dec-2010
Jakarta: Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl lauded his players for the effort that they showed against Malaysia during the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup final on Wednesday and felt that they did not deserve to miss out on the title yet again.

Trailing 3-0 from the first leg, Indonesia threw almost everything into attack in the first half but missed out on a glorious opportunity to cut the deficit when goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat saved an early penalty by Firman Utina.

Safee Sali then gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with a fine goal on the counter-attack. And although Mohammad Nasuha and Muhammad Ridwan scored to give Indonesia the victory on the night, it only reduced the final deficit to 4-2 in favour of the Malaysains.

"Congratulations to the Malaysian team on winning the AFF Suzuki Cup although I think that it was the better team that lost the final," said Riedl.

"I think we really lost the final in the first leg in Kuala Lumpur after we allowed three goals in a terrible 12 minutes. Today, I thought that we were really unlucky because we played our best football of the tournament in the first half but we could not score a goal.

"After we went a goal behind, we showed a lot of determination and we fought very hard to come back and we deserved to win the game. We could really have scored five, six or seven goals tonight but we missed too many chances in the first half.

"I want to thank the whole team for the commitment and discipline that they showed on the pitch. In particular, I must thank the captain, Firman Utina, and Bambang Pamungkas, who is our team leader because they are my right hands on the field. But the whole team deserve to be proud of their success and the way that they have played in the tournament."

Riedl did not believe that Firman's missed spot kick may have made much of a difference to the final outcome.

"Even if we had scored a penalty, a lot of things still could have happened so we will never know how big a difference it might have made," said the Austrian. "But I'm probably thinking the same as all of you (that it might have been a big difference to the final outcome)."

Despite the devasting loss, Riedl insisted that he has no plans for leaving his current position as Indonesia's head coach.

"The president of the Indonesian FA can kick me out tomorrow. But as long as I am in charge of the team, I will continue to make the decisions of how we play and who plays.

I still have a 16-month contract with the team and I want to stay but you never know what will happen tomorrow," he added.