A first-half goal from the penalty spot earned Indonesia a highly-anticipated victory against Vietnam in their second group-stage match at the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar on Friday evening (Vietnam time).
The 1-0 victory propelled Indonesia to third place in Group D, securing their first three points.
Meanwhile, Vietnam descended to the bottom with zero points after two games, which means they have become the first team to be eliminated from the tournament.
Vietnam had lost 2-4 to Japan on January 14.
Iraq are leading Group D after beating Japan 2-1 in another encounter ealier on the same day.
What Vietnam’s head coach Philippe Troussier had envisioned as a ‘balanced battle’ during the pre-match press conference turned out to be the opposite.
Roared on by their supporters, Indonesia had started on the front foot, exerting pressure and crafting more perilous opportunities.
Although Vietnam vied to settle down and control possession, most of the action was in their half as Indonesia’s rough play prevented the Vietnamese from carrying out their tactic.
The persistent pressure ultimately paid off.
Asnawi Mangkualam broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 42nd minute as the referee gave Indonesia a penalty after Nguyen Thanh Binh pulled the shirt of an Indonesian player.
Troussier had his squad advance into Indonesia’s territory immediately upon returning from the dressing room and they had three chances but failed to convert.
Indonesia’s robust defense continued to hinder Vietnam’s offensive efforts as time was ticking away.
Despite the urgency, Vietnam faced challenges in advancing attacks as their midfield encountered swift shutdowns each time they gained possession.
Their situation deteriorated further when Le Pham Thanh Long received a second yellow card for fouling Marselino Ferdinan and was subsequently sent off in stoppage time.
Eventually, Indonesia got their first win against Vietnam at the national team level since 2016.
They will play Japan in the final group-stage matchday next Wednesday while Vietnam will face Iraq.
The 2023 AFC Asian Cup, held in Qatar until February 10, includes 24 teams competing in six groups using a round-robin format.
The top two teams from each group and the four best-performing third-placed teams will advance to the Round of 16.
Reigning champions Qatar are in Group A with China, Tajikistan, and Lebanon, while Group B includes 2015 champions Australia, along with Uzbekistan, Syria, and India.
Three-time champions Iran are competing against the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and Palestine in Group C.
South Korea face Malaysia, Jordan, and Bahrain in Group E, while three-time title holders Saudi Arabia play Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, and Oman in Group F.