Indonesia 2 Thailand 1 - Bambang double ends Thai hopes (07/12/2010)

JAKARTA: Bambang Pamungkas converted two late penalties as Indonesia came from behind to beat Thailand 2-1 on Wednesday and send the three-time champions crashing out of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Thailand appeared to be on course for the win that they needed to progress when Suree Sukha fired them ahead in the 68th minute at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

But Bambang levelled the score from the spot in the 81st minute and then fired home the winner a minute from time to give the hosts their third consecutive victory in Group A and condemn the Thais to an early exit.

Despite securing top spot in the group before the match, Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl opted to make only three changes to the side that beat Laos 6-0 with Tony Sucipto, Muhamad Roby and Eka Ramdani coming in for Firman Utina and Ahmad Bustomi, who each have a booking, and the injured Hamka Hamzah.

Thailand coach Bryan Robson made four changes to his side from their goalless draw with Malaysia with Suttinun Phukhom, Rangsan Vivatchaichok, Kirati Keawsombut and Naruphol Aromsawa replacing Suchao Nutnum, Sarayoot Chaikamdee, Sutee Suksomkit and Phichitphong Choeichiu

There were worries for the Thais when goalkeeper Sinthaweechai Hathairattanakool required lengthy treatment after an aerial collision after just two minutes. But he managed to continue after having his head heavily bandaged.

Cheered on loudly by the crowd of 65,000, the Indonesians showed plenty of attacking intent early on but the first half quickly descended into a physical battle with little in the way of clear-cut chances.

Thai midfielder Rangsan Vivatchaichok should have done better in the fifth minute when he fired a free-kick 25 metres from goal straight at the wall while Indonesia goalkeeper Markus Harison bravely came out to save at the feet of Datsakorn Thonglao in the 15th minute after Kirati Keawsombut had gone around right back Mohammad Nasuha.

The Thais created a good opening on the half-hour when Rangsan received a pass from Datsakorn on the edge of the box and quickly relayed it to Kirati, who looked to be clear on goal but shot wide as he was challenged by Zulkifly Syukur.

The Thais continued to press after the half-time break and nearly took the lead in the 51st minute when Markus was caught out of position after he failed to gather a cross by Rangsan. Datsakorn lofted the loose ball towards goal but Maman Abdurachman headed it off his line.

The Indonesians had a chance of their own a minute later when the ball was lofted into the Thai box for Christian Gonzales, who got to the ball just ahead of Sinthaweechai but touched his effort just wide of the far post.

Markus then atoned for his earlier error in the 55th minute with a fine reflex save to keep out Kirati's spectacular bicycle kick from 10 metres.

With time beginning to run out on his side, Robson sent Therdsak Chaiman on to replace Datsakorn in the 68th minute. And just a minute later, they got the crucial goal as Kirati knocked the ball down in the box for Suree, who volleyed into the top right corner.

But Indonesia came to life after falling behind and began to take control of proceedings.

Arif Suyono saw his shot deflected over by Suchao Nutnum in the 78th minute, and three minutes later, the hosts were awarded a penalty after Gonzales was bundled over in the box.

Bambang was unerring from the spot, driving the ball past Sinthaweechai into the bottom left corner.

Roared on by the home fans, they completed the comeback a minute from time when they were awarded another penalty after Panupong Wongsa handled Bambang's goal-bound attempt. The Indonesia keeper made no mistake once again, sending Sinthaweechai the wrong way from the spot to seal Thailand's demise.

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