Underdogs Indonesia aim for AFF Suzuki Cup Final upset
Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl says his side will try their best to “make history” this week by winning the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time.
The Garudas square up against defending champions Thailand in the first-leg of the Final in Bogor, Indonesia, on Wednesday night with rousing home support expected at Stadion Pakansari.
“We are playing the number one team in Southeast Asia so we know it is going to be very difficult but we want to make history and win this for the first time,” said Riedl.
This marks the fifth time they have made it to the final and success this week will bury the ghosts of losing in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2010.
“We have the great advantage of playing in front of our wonderful fans tomorrow and this will give us a huge lift,” added the Indonesian coach.
Indonesia making it to the final has surprised everyone as they entered the tournament having not played a competitive match since the last AFF Suzuki Cup in 2014.
“We had to make a lot of tactical changes and that has been the key that allowed us to play so well in the tournament,” said Riedl.
“But ultimately the key has been playing as a team, and our spirit has been incredible.”
In Hanoi last week Indonesia managed a memorable extra-time 4-3 win on aggregate after a 2-2 draw against Vietnam in their semi-final second-leg at the My Dinh National Stadium.
And they have only lost one game in the event so far which was their opening match 4-2 loss to Wednesday night’s opponents.
“We absolutely came to win the tournament and show what we are capable of,” said Riedl who is now in his third spell as Indonesia coach having previously coached them in 2010 and 2013.
It has all been a big ask for Indonesia after failing to advance from the Group Stages in 2012 and 2014 but they have displaying a resilience and never-say-die attitude that poses a threat to the ambitions of Thailand tomorrow and in the second leg in Bangkok on Saturday.