Two goals from Budi Sudarsono and Bambang Pamungkas gave Indonesia an astonishing 2-1 victory over Bahrain in front of 88,000 spectators in their Group D 2007 Asian Cup opener at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium yesterday.
|Indonesia's striker Bambang Pamungkas fights for the ball with Bahrain defenders|
The co-host took a 14th-minute lead when Firman Utina chipped a perfect through ball in behind Bahrain’s defense to Budi Sudarsono, who controlled it on his chest before beating goalkeeper Abdulkarim in a one-on-one challenge with a sliding shot.
Budi’s goal caused pandemonium in the stands, sparking flare-waving celebrations on the packed upper tier of the famous old stadium as the home fans dared to dream that they could match the performances of fellow co-hosts.
But Bahrain pressed forward and notched an equalizer thirteen minutes later thanks to an opportunistic goal by Sayed Mahmood Jalal.
Mahmoud Abdulrahman won the ball from Mahyadi Panggabean on the left side of the Indonesian half before crossing it to Abdullah Omar, whose shot found the post.
The ball rebounded to the feet of Sayed Mahmood Jalal, who appeared in time to slot it into an empty net.
Indonesia came close three minutes before the break when midfielder Elie Aiboy stole the ball off Fawzi Ayesh before blasting a shot that was parried to safety by stopper Abdulkarim.
The co-host regained the lead in the 64th minute when goalkeeper Abdulkarim parried a Firman powerful shot from long range onto the post and Bambang crisply slid home from the rebound.
Bahrain rushed for the equalizer with Rashed Al Dosari almost stunning Indonesian fans in the 87th minute when his looping effort from inside the penalty area hit the crossbar.
From there the host side stood firm until the whistle.
The win means that three of the four co-hosts will go into the second round of group matches unbeaten after Thailand held Iraq to a one-all draw on the opening day before Viet Nam downed the United Arab Emirates 2-0 on Sunday.