The 2019 AFF U-22 Championship ended with Indonesia pipping Thailand to the trophy. Garuda Muda beat their opponents thanks to two quick goals, despite going behind just minutes earlier. Here are five things we observed during the match.
#1 All out attack but no goals
That was the story of the first half at least.
Indonesia started the match brighter of the two, almost taking the lead within the first five minutes. Thailand, however, held firm with the help of their defenders and on occasions, the goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, the War Elephants looked to create chances of their own. They tried to break against their opponents on the counter in order to create favourable situations. However, they were shunned in their attempts to do so.
As a result, the first half ended with neither side being able to take the lead. Nevertheless, that changed just twelve minuted into the second half.
#2 Thailand strike first
Much of the first half was dominated by Indonesia. Garuda Muda played a brilliant attacking came, almost taking the lead on several occasions.
However, Thailand came out stronger in the second half and took the game to their opponents. They took the lead in the fifty-seventh minute, courtesy of captain Saringkan Promsupa. The Thai U-22 skipper headed the ball in following a set piece to put the War Elephants ahead.
Unluckily for Thailand and Saringkan, their opponents responded in no time at all.
#3 Indonesia respond in quick time
What more can a manager ask for when he gets an immediate response from his team after going down? That’s exactly what Indonesia did after going behind in the Final against Thailand.
Garuda Muda fell behind to a Saringkan Promsupa header on the fifty-seventh minute. However, instead of letting their heads drop, they responded almost immediately, with Sani Riski finding the net via a deflected shot.
Things got even better for Indonesia five minutes later, when Osvaldo Haay flicked his header past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. From then on, Garuda Muda held firm until the final whistle, winning the AFF U-22 Championship in the process.
#4 Marinus goes missing on the big night
The biggest surprise of the night was the relatively uninvolved Marinus Wanewar. The Indonesian forward had attracted plenty of headlines throughout the competition, for both the right and the wrong reasons, but was kept quiet throughout the 90 minutes by the opposition defence.
Marinus’s overall involvement was limited to a few moments. The forward did try to contribute on several occasions. However, he was kept in check throughout the night by Marco Ballini and Co.
#5 New dawn for Indonesia?
Indonesian football looked to be heading towards dark days after their horror show at the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup. Tim Garuda were embroiled in a lot of controversies before the start of the tournament, which was then followed by poor displays on the pitch.
However, going by the performances of the junior side, it seems that the future isn’t as dark for Tim Garuda as it seemed at one point.
Garuda Muda have given the football followers of Indonesia a lot to cheer about. Not only have they lifted the AFF U-22 Championship trophy, but in doing so, they have also put forward several young talents who have the potential to become superstars.