A stunning pair of goals by Rizky Pora and Hansamu Yama gave Indonesia a 2-1 advantage over Thailand on Wednesday night in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 Final.
The raucous crowd was all too happy to set the scene at the sold-out Pakansari Stadium, with the hosts bending but not breaking against Thai pressure in the opening minutes.
Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl was dealt an early setback when star winger Andik Vermansyah took a tumble in the 11th minute, clutching his left knee as medical staff attended to him on the sideline.
Though he would eventually return to play, Andik would leave the pitch for good in the 19th minute when he was stretchered off with Zulham Zamrun relieving him.
The 33rd minute saw none other than Thai captain Teerasil Dangda break the deadlock with a picture-perfect header off of Theeraton Bunmathan’s cross that Indonesian goalkeeper Kurnia Hermansyah could not reach.
Thailand pressured after the break but seemed content to stay in second gear, and they were punished for their lack of finishing in the 65th minute when Rizky Pora’s shot bounced from outside the box deflected off a nearby Thai defender and past Kawin who was glued to his spot.
With the crowd back in full voice, Hansamu put the hosts into the lead just five minutes later, rising from the back of the pack to meet Zulham’s corner kick with a thundering header.
A pair of great saves by Kawin in the 90th minute prevented the result from becoming lopsided, but at the final whistle Thailand found themselves much in the same position as Vietnam did in their semifinal series against Indonesia earlier this month: down 2-1 and with all the pressure on them to achieve a major result in the second leg at home just days later.