A late stunner by Stefano Lilipaly clinched Indonesia’s first AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal appearance since 2010 in a dramatic 2-1 win over Singapore on the final matchday of of Group A.
Both sides went into the match knowing that even a win might not be enough depending on the result at Philippines Sports Stadium, where the hosts faced off against already-qualified Thailand.
The first 15 minutes of the match saw the Garuda pressure Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, who always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to make several key saves.
In the 25th minute, Singapore striker Khairul Amri’s free kick was on target, forcing Indonesian goalkeeper Kurnia Hermansyah to punch out a clearance. Safuwan Baharudin headed the ensuing throw-in in front of Amri, whose off-balance volley in front of the goal could not miss to put the Lions up 1-0.
Indonesia looked to respond quickly, and Boas Salossa’s one-on-one attempt was cleared by Sunny for a corner kick which was also handled well.
A 30th-minute free kick attempt by Andik Vermansyah went through the Singapore wall, but again Sunny was perfectly positioned to make the stop and his team would head into the halftime locker room with destiny seemingly in their hands.
Their joy would not last, however, as Indonesia drew even in the 62nd minute with an effortless volley by Andik in front of the goal.
Just a minute later, Singapore captain Hariss Harun nearly put his team back in the lead with a header tipped just over the crossbar.
Faris Ramli’s low shot in the 78th minute had the look of a potential game-winner, but Sunny provided yet another key block.
But with just five minutes remaining, Sunny was unable to respond to Stefano’s half-volleyed rocket as the the faithful Indonesia support erupted into cheers, a scene that would repeat again after the final whistle.
Indonesia will join Thailand, who finished with a perfect nine points, in the semifinals which are scheduled to take place early next month.