2. Indonesia took the Azkals best punch and lived to tell the tale
The team which took the field against Indonesia was billed as “the strongest Azkals team ever.” Perhaps they believed in the hype a little too much. The score at the end of the game certainly belies this lofty billing.
Even without Stephan Schrock, the Azkals were touted to be two-deep in every position, yet could only muster a draw against an Indonesian side that frankly was a shell of the team that beat the Azkals in December 2010.
To put everything in proper perspective, this was an Indonesian team composed of 13 players from the obviously inferior Indonesian Premier League (IPL) and only three holdovers from the team that won against the Azkals: Maniani, Bachdim and goalkeeper Markus Maulana. They were missing the services of all the top players in the currently unsanctioned Indonesian Super League (ISL) such as current Suzuki Cup MVP Firman Utina and Azkals tormentor Cristian Gonzales. All their players are under 25 years old.
Yet they played toe-to-toe with the Azkals and twice took the lead in the game. In boxing parlance, Indonesia took our best punch, survived the twelve rounds, and lived to tell the tale.
Indonesia’s road record for friendly games is not impressive to say the least, partly because they’ve played so few of them in recent times. With the Azkals playing at home, it was a golden opportunity for the home team to notch the first win against Indonesia and just get over that psychological barrier of failing to get that elusive victory.
Both teams stated on the record after the match that this was a result that “they could live with.” I suspect the Indonesians is the happier of the two teams after the draw.