Indonesia marked their official return to competitive action by clinching an astounding 3-0 win over Malaysia in Solo, earlier today.
With this being Ong Kim Swee and Malaysia’s first outing since four JDT players announced their international retirement, a revamped starting eleven was fielded for this clash. OKS opted to go with Ronny Harun and Fadhli Shas at the back, besides handing young T-Team star Safawi Rashid a debut.
Meanwhile, Indonesia opted for a strong starting eleven, as Alfred Riedl included the Malaysian-based Andik Vermansyah in his squad, alongside Irfan Bachdim and Boaz Solossa.
And within minutes into the game, it was evident that the Garudas had the upper hand. Predictably, it only took them seven minutes to break the deadlock. A defensive mix-up from the Malaysian center-backs allowed Boaz Solossa to find the back of the net, sending the Solo crowd into frenzy mode.
Merely four minutes later, Indonesia doubled their lead. Brendan Gan failed lost the ball easily in midfield, allowing Irfan Bachdim to charge forward with the ball. As soon as he entered the penalty box, Bachdim made no mistakes by firing past Khairul Fahmi to make it 2-0 on the night.
On the 21st minute, it was 3-0. Boaz Solossa was in the right place at the right time, as he capitalised on a chaotic situation inside Malaysia’s penalty box, to slot home from close range. The crowd went wild, while OKS was left looking helpless on the sidelines. Malaysia attempted to kick start a comeback, but Indonesia’s defensive resilience ensured the score remained till half-time.
Ong responded by introducing Shahrul Saad, Hazwan Bakri and Zaquan Adha in the second half. That introduction, coupled with Indonesia’s decision to withdraw Solossa, made things a lot less complicated for OKS’ charges.
But while things looked promising defensively, Malaysia continued to struggle with offensive penetration. Zaquan was constantly marked by the Indonesian defenders, which forced him to drop deep – killing Malaysia’s only physical presence upfront.
Malaysia’s inability to break the Indonesian defence down meant that the game evolved into a drabby affair in the last 10 minutes. Despite Fakri’s late introduction, the score line remained as Indonesia sealed a comprehensive 3-0 win, much to the joy of their vibrant fans in Solo.