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New kings to be crowned on AFF Suzuki Cup 2010

The two sides have been regular opponents since 1957 when Indonesia beat Malaya 4-2 at the Merdeka Tournament in Kuala Lumpur. Before the introduction of the AFF Suzuki Cup, they also clashed twice in SEA Games finals, with Malaysia winning 1-0 in Jakarta in 1979 before the Indonesians exacted revenge by taking gold by the same score at the same venue eight years later.

They have met in the AFF Suzuki Cup on five previous occasions but, oddly, all of their matches before their group stage clash this year, came in the semi-finals.

The two teams first locked horn in the last four of the inaugural tournament in Singapore in 1996 when early goals by K.Sanbagamaran and Rusdee Sulong helped Malaysia to a 3-1 win. However, the Malaysians would lose the final to Thailand 1-0.

The Indonesians had to wait six years before their chance to avenge that defeat finally arrived in 2002. Then, a lone Bambang Pamungkas goal 15 minutes from time gave Ivan Kolev's side a hard-fought 1-0 win at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and a place in the final against Thailand, which they lost on penalties.

They met again in the 2004 tournament when the semi-finals were played over two legs for the first time. Malaysia were the underdogs but they appeared on course for the final when they stunned the Indonesians with a 2-1 win in the first leg in Jakarta, courtesy of a brace by Liew Kit Kong, and extended their advantage through Khalid Jamlus in first half of the return match in Kuala Lumpur.

But Indonesia cut loose in the second half of that match with goals by Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, Charis Yulianto, Ilham Jayakesuma and Boaz Salossa in the final 31 minutes giving them a 4-1 win and sending them through 5-3 on aggregate to a final against Singapore. Peter Withe's side failed to maintain their momentum though and were hammered 5-2 on aggregate by the Lions.

With Indonesia failing to make the last four in 2007 and Malaysia falling at the group stage two years ago, the two teams did not come together again until this year's group stage.

This time, an early goal by Norshahrul Idlan gave the Malaysians a shock early lead but an own goal by Asraruddin Putra and Cristian Gonzales' brilliant low strike turned things in the home side's favour before half-time. Sloppy defending by the Malaysians saw Muhammad Ridwan, substitute Arif Suyono and Irfan Bachdim adding to the score in the second half as they crashed to a 5-1 defeat, their heaviest ever loss in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Don't expect a similar scoreline in the final. In fact the only thing that one should expect in this year's final is that – with Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam watching from the sidelines – new champions will be crowned in the AFF Suzuki Cup. They may be long-time regional rivals but when Malaysia and Indonesia clash in this year's AFF Suzuki Cup final, it will mark their first meeting in the final of Southeast Asia's most prestigious football tournament.

1 Comment:

  1. I think Malaysia subsequently won their first ever title since they first appeared in the final in the inaugural edition, beating Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate in the finals.


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