Indonesia’s deafening support unable to silence Aussies’ 4-0 win

January 28 – Australia fought off a determined Indonesia to claim the first place in the quarter finals, in the end running out as 4-0 victors in a comfortable match at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium which was filled to the brim with Indonesian supporters.

The Socceroos entered the match as heavy favourites, holding a seven-match unbeaten streak. In comparison, Indonesia’s last loss was just four days ago after conceding three goals to Japan. They progressed to the knockouts on three points thanks to a 1-0 win versus Vietnam, going through as one the best third-placed finishers.

Aussie boss Graham Arnold kept a similar side to the side that drew with Uzbekistan last week, with Nathaniel Atkinson and Kusini Yengi as the only omissions from the first XI. Arnold opted for experience in the front line, replacing 25-year-old Yengi with 36-year-old veteran striker Bruno Fornaroli. Bolton’s Gethin Jones replaced Atkinson as Arnold looked to earn back his clean sheet reputation, having conceded the only goal since October versus Uzbekistan.

After Indonesia manager Masatada Ishii praised his opponents as one of the strongest teams in the cup, the South Korean opted for three changes from the side that lost to Japan last week. Shayne Pattynama, Elkan Baggott and Asnawi Bahar were the new additions as the side shaped up to be more attacking, changing out two defenders for offensive counterparts.

Indonesia set up in an aggressive 3-4-3 formation designed to keep constant pressure on their more experienced opponents. Star man Marselino Ferdinan returned to his favoured position on the left wing and looked to take advantage of Arnold’s right-back indecision for Australia.

As the match favourites, the Aussies intended to play their own game by sticking with Arnold’s signature 4-3-3 formation which worked well for the Socceroos as they breezed through the Group stage at half pace.

It was time for the Aussies to take it up a gear and reinstate themselves as big hitters for the tournament to come. Ahead of the match, Indonesia may as well have lined up with 12 men, as the stands at the Jassim Bin Hamad stadium were engulfed in a wave of red and white.

Indonesia opened the play with a long-ball approach, which suited towering Aussie centre-half Harry Souttar who had no issues tidying up in the air as the Indonesians started the match with the lion’s share of attacking opportunities. Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Justin Hubner came close with an early effort, which further stirred up the deafening and unconditional Indonesian crowd.

But it was Australia who opened the scoring in the 11th minute after an end-to-end opening. The goal came courtesy of a chaotic effort from Jackson Irvine, whose shot deflected off Baggott to beat keeper Ernando Aki a bit too easily, undoing Indonesia’s hard working opening.

Across the ensuing half hour, the game cooled as Australia looked to maintain their lead whilst Indonesia lacked the invention to beat the yellow defensive wall comprised of two-metre-tall Souttar and Kye Rowles.

Australia doubled their lead in the 45th minute thanks to a diving header from Martin Boyle at the back post to inject some energy back into the game.

Returning for the second half, Australia’s intent was protect their lead and see out the victory. They controlled possession and committed tactical fouls to shut down Indonesia’s threatening counters, much to the distaste of the crowd. Arnold opted for a formation switch at half-time, converting to a 4-4-1-1.

As the aggression continued to climb, Jones committed a venomous kick out in frustration, striking his opposing player and causing the stadium to explode with deafening disapproval. The lapse in composure from Jones earned him a yellow card and an immediate seat on the bench, making way for Hearts’ Atkinson.

Injected with a new determination, Indonesia’s effort to attack spiked but was met with obdurate refusal from the Aussies’ flawless back line.

Chasing the game, Shin Tae-Yong bizarrely substituted winger Sayuri for a centre half as Rizky Ramadhani entered the fray.

Stripped of his credit for the goal that opened the match, Jackson Irvine became the pantomime villain for the crowd, as his frustration with the referee was laid bare by repeatedly hitting the ball against his own forehead.

Indonesia’s defence became increasingly disorganised as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, with Boyle  repeatedly easing past defenders with impressive skill.

Craig Goodwin sealed Australia’s place in the Quarter Finals by scoring the third goal of the match in the 88th minute, mere seconds after replacing Jordi Bos on the left wing. The player took advantage of pinball in the Indonesian box to easily convert a first-time finish from close range.

Leicester’s Souttar capped a formidable display with a goal of his own two minutes later, netting a towering header over the hapless Indonesia defence following a free kick.

Australia will meet either Saudi Arabia and South Korea in the quarter finals on February 2, who will no doubt provide a sterner test.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1708861597labto1708861597ofdlr1708861597owedi1708861597sni@g1708861597niwe.1708861597yrrah1708861597


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