Young Garuda Take on Macau With an Eye On the Finals
The Young Garuda are flying high after their 2-0 win over East Timor on Saturday and will look to maintain that momentum as they chase a place in the finals of the Asian Football Confederation Under-22 Championship.
Indonesia meets Macau at the Riau Main Stadium in Pekanbaru today in the AFC qualifiers. The Young Garuda need another win to keep alive their hopes of advancing to the finals. The match will broadcast live on SCTV starting at 7:30 p.m.
Also today, Japan plays East Timor at Riau Main Stadium starting at 4 p.m., while Australia takes on Singapore at Kaharuddin Nasution Stadium in Rumbai, also in Riau.
Indonesia currently sits in third place Group E with three points from two matches, three points behind leaders Japan and Australia. The top two teams advance to the finals, along with the best third-place finisher among the seven qualifying groups.
Macau is at the bottom of the group but is still dangerous. After losing 6-0 in the opener to Japan, it scored two late goals against Australia on Saturday in a 3-2 loss. Indonesia coach Aji Santoso said they would not take Macau for granted.
“Looking at the result of the previous match, we can’t afford to take Macau lightly,” he said on Monday. “They could give us big trouble, and they will play more freely as they look for their first win.”
In the first two matches, the Young Garuda have been heavily dependent on striker Andik Vermansyah and have also shown a lack of patience in trying to break down the opponent’s defense.
But Aji said he wasn’t too concerned and was confident that his side would continue to gel. “Andik had a lot of the ball because he put himself in good positions. The other players have to create more opportunities,” he said. “I know we’re still lacking teamwork as the boys had little chance to play together before the tournament.”
Macau coach Leung Sui Wing said his players did not want to go home as the worst team and would fight hard to lift themselves from the bottom of the group.
“We want to win our remaining matches in order to get off the bottom, including the match against Indonesia,” Leung told news agency Antara. “It won’t be easy as Indonesia is a strong team.”