Thais paid penalty for nervous finish: Robson (08/12/2010)

JAKARTA: Thailand coach Bryan Robson felt that his side let their nerves get the better of them as they bowed out of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Tuesday after conceding two late penalties in a 2-1 loss to Indonesia in their final Group A game.

Needing a win to advance to the semi-finals, the Thais controlled much of the play and took a deserved lead through Suree Sukha's volley midway through the second half.

But they were unable to maintain the initiative and collapsed in the closing minutes as Bambang Pamungkas converted twice from the spot to send the three-time champions crashing out of the tournament.

"Overall I thought we played quite well tonight but after we scored the goal, we seemed to panic a bit and gave the ball away a bit too much," said Robson.

"If we got the penalty in the first half, when we were playing better and we were putting them under a lot of pressure, it might have been a different game.

"For me, the turning point was when we scored and our possession was not so good as it was previous to that and we didn't play very well."

The former England captain felt aggrieved that his side were not awarded a penalty in the first half while they were well on top when Suree Sukha went down in the box but was instead booked for diving.

The penalties instead went to the Indonesians when Christian Gonzales appeared to be fouled in the 81st minute and Panupong Wongsa handled Bambang's goal-bound shot a minute from time.

"I think that the officials haven't been very kind to us in this competition," he lamented.

"In the first half, there was a blatant foul on Suree but the referee didn't seem to see it and gave him a yellow card instead. In the second half, the ball hit the post, went across the box and their player went down but he managed to see a foul this time.

"And then right at the end, when a player blasts a ball at you from two yards out and it hits you on the arm, it's beyond me how that can be a penalty and you can get sent off as well. I thought that just summed the referee up."

Meanwhile, Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl expressed surprise at the powers of recovery shown by his side, who were on the back foot for much of the game but came on strong at the end.

"I thought that today, we were playing in third gear a little bit but their goal woke us up. I was surprised that we had so much power in the end and we got the result we wanted in the end," the Austrian said.

"If you take the game over 90 minutes, a draw would have been a fair result because the Thais tried hard to score. In the first half, they were not dangerous but in the second half they created a lot more chances because they had to take a risk.

"They finally scored a goal but after that we played more offensive and we took more chances. That was what resulted in the two penalties, which were both quite clear."

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