Indonesia U-23 national team secured the third spot in the Merlion Cup 2019 after they defeated Philippines 5-0 at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Sunday.
Indra Sjafri’s Indonesian youngsters could have won the third-place play-off against the young Azkals by an even larger margin, but they were denied by the crossbar three times in the first 45 minutes.
Garuda Muda, who had suffered a 2-1 defeat to Thailand in their opener, went ahead as early as the fifth minute when Muhammad Rafli applied an instinctive finish after Sani Fauzi had done well on the wings to play a ball across the goal.
Rafli could have doubled his and Indonesia’s tally 10 minutes later when he blasted a shot onto the crossbar — it came only seconds after a cross from the left had bounced onto the Philippines crossbar and out!
Indonesia looked determined not to settle on the one-goal lead and they put the ball in the back of the net only for the referee to wrongly rule the goal out. Fabi Eka had done well on the left getting to the byline and crossing in for Gian Zola to score, but the goal was disallowed as the referee thought the ball had gone out of play before being crossed in.
Zola then blasted one into the crossbar in the 42nd minute as Indonesia surprisingly went into the half-time break only one goal up!
— FAS (@FASingapore) June 9, 2019
But the Indonesians were more efficient in the second period and doubled their lead three minutes after restart when Rizky Febrianto drew a foul inside the box from Roland Saavedra and then converted the spot-kick himself to make it 2-0.
Rafli then found his second of the game at the hour-mark when he turned in a cross from substitute Yakob Sayuri. The Arema FC player soon completed his hattrick when he interchanged passes with another substitute Hanif Sjahbandi and finished past Azkals goalkeeper Alexandre Arcilla in the 68th minute.
Substitute Asnawi Bahar made it 5-0 for Indonesia 5-0 in the 74th minute as Philippines crumbled!
Hosts Singapore will face Indonesia in the final of the Merlion Cup from 7:30 PM HKT and you can follow all the action from the game LIVE here!