DUBAI, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s dreams of making it to yet another World Cup has all but faded, after regional rivals Vietnam emphatically beat them 4-0 in their Group G qualification match in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on Monday evening, local time.
The Indonesian squad found itself on the defensive from kick-off at the Al Maktoum Stadium, as Vietnam boxed in the Garuda on their part of the field for the first half of the game.
But Indonesia managed to keep a clean sheet until Nguyen Tien Linh put Vietnam up 1-0 in the 51st minute, as he volleyed in a previous shot that bounced back after hitting the goalpost.
The goal was more than a bit controversial, as Tien Linh was suspected of manually steadying the ball before scoring the goal.
A number of Indonesian players swarmed and questioned the referee for allowing the goal, with the referee even booking Indonesian goalkeeper Nadeo Argawinata for excessive protest.
“[Indonesia] might have lost the ball long before Tien Linh scored. He was guilty of handball, but the referee did not see it that way despite his proximity to the situation,” Indonesia’s South Korean born coach Shin Tae-yong lamented.
“The referee’s senseless decision disrupted Indonesia’s rhythm of play, and turned the situation in an unfavorable direction for us.” Shin’s compatriot, Vietnam soccer coach Park Hang Seo, refused to comment on the referee’s decision.
Tien Linh’s goal led the way, as Vietnam extended their lead through Nguyen Quang Hai in the 62nd minute, Nguyen Phuong Cong in the 67th minute, and Van Thanh Vu in the 72nd minute mark.