Vietnamese media said Indonesia, especially their star midfielder Marc Klok, focused too much on their defending opponent Doan Van Hau in the 0-2 loss to Vietnam in the semifinals of the 2022 AFF Championship on Monday night.
Klok is a naturalized footballer that was expected to help Indonesia improve the midfield.
He had fulfilled that expectation before the Vietnam game at this year’s AFF tourney, according to many football experts.
However, his performance at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on Monday evening was a disappointment, Vietnamese media commented after the match.
Notably, he tried to foul or provoke Vietnamese left-back Doan Van Hau multiple times.
In the 74th minute, Klok deliberately fell on the field while standing next to Hau, who was clasping his hands behind his back.
His provocation caused chaos between Indonesian and Vietnamese players inside Vietnam’s box.
The referee ended the situation with a yellow card for Indonesian midfielder Ricky Richardo Kambuaya.
Although Klok was lucky to receive the leniency of the referee and no cards, his pretense has made him a laughingstock of netizens and has been an example of lack of focus during the game play.
Every time any Indonesian player laid down on the pitch, the 29-year-old booed, demanding a punishment for Vietnam.
|Indonesian midfielder Marc Klok falls on the field while standing next to Vietnamese defender Doan Van Hau (in red, No. 5), who is shown clasping his hands behind his back during their semifinal second leg at the 2022 AFF Championship in Hanoi on January 9, 2023.|
Not only Klok but many other Indonesian players also let anger during rough tackles and conflicts distract them from their main task, playing football, according to Vietnamese media.
As a result, Indonesia lost their elegant and dangerous play in the first leg.
After they conceded Vietnam’s first goal by striker Nguyen Tien Linh in the third minute, spectators could only see a fragmented, deadlocked, and helpless Indonesian side.
Their head coach, Shin Tae Young, could do little to nothing during Monday’s game, except constantly complaining about his opponents.
One day before, Shin took to Instagram to personally criticize three rough tackles by Hau in previous meetings.
Vietnamese media, which had been heavily critical of Shin following the Instagram post, once again questioned the South Korean head coach status, Klok’s midfield-coordinating role, and the Indonesian national men’s football team’s class after Monday’s 0-2 defeat.
Meanwhile, the victory extended Vietnam’s record of keeping clean sheets at the AFF Championship to seven matches, including six matches at this tournament and one from the previous.
Vietnam will take on the winners of the remaining semifinal between Thailand and Malaysia on Tuesday evening in the final, which will be played over two legs on January 13 and 16.
In the first leg, Malaysia won 1-0 against Thailand.