Syria is well in contention to qualify for the next round in the
men's football tournament after a 4-1 victory over plucky
Indonesia in the Group B match at the Al Alhi Sports Club, Tuesday
A rout looked on as Syria cruised into a 3-0 lead after 16
minutes and it looked even more likely when Indonesian defender
Fandy Mochtar was dismissed in the 32nd minute.
Syrian striker Abdwlfatah Alaga opened the scoring in the 2nd
minute with a near-post header from a wicked, in-swinging free kick
from the right by Syrian skipper Maher Al Said.
The same combination again hit the back of the net in the 10th
minute when an Al Said free kick on the right caused chaos in the
Indonesian defense and Alaga lashed home, right footed from the
edge of the six-yard box.
Six minutes on and it was skipper Maher Al Said who got his name
on the score card. Not for the first time the Indonesian defense
failed to clear a goal-mouth scramble and he planted the ball home
from 10 yards.
Indonesia then settled to play some better football, keeping
Syria at bay for long periods, but then Indonesia's Fandy Mochtar
was shown the red card by the referee for a late tackle which left
a Syrian player prone on the pitch. Indonesia was now down to ten
men against a confident Syria, and struggled for the rest of the
Indonesian coach Foppe De Haan commented, "The red card was
really stupid. We were just starting to play a little bit with some
nice passes. The ball was in the middle of the pitch and the tackle
was from behind – the ref had no alternative."
But it was a transformed Indonesia that emerged for the second
half, with the pace and energy of Tony Sucipto causing the Syrian
defence endless anxiety. It was Sucipto's run and low cross from
the right in the 49th minute which enabled Gherry Nugraha to fumble
home from eight yards.
Taufiq Kasrun and Mohammed Ardiansyah both had decent efforts,
but Indonesia's old habits of sloppy defending and indiscipline
both re-emerged in the final minutes.
First, Syrian substitute, Mohammed Alhamwi had time to spare as
he converted a low cross to score in the 86th minute. Then three
minutes later saw defender Zulkiifli Syukur shown the referee's red
card for a late tackle from behind.
De Haan again, "Today we were better. We actually played
"I hope that we will play the next game against Singapore from
the start and not from the second half as we did today."
Surprisingly the Syrian coach, Fajer Ebrahim, was not happy, "We
won, but I'm not satisfied with the team.
"Iraq is is the best team in the Group. With Turkmenistan
withdrawing, the second place we will work hard for. First in the
Group will be difficult now."
(dohaasiangames.org November 21, 2006)