IDNAround – The Indonesian U-23 team secured their spot in the Asia Cup finals in Qatar after defeating Turkmenistan 2-0 in the decisive group match at Manahan Stadium in Solo, Central Java province, on Tuesday evening.
This victory mirrored the friendly match between the senior teams of both countries in Surabaya four days ago, with a similar score. However, for the younger squad, this win against Turkmenistan marked their first in the head-to-head record.
Dutch-born midfielder Ivar Jenner opened the scoring for Indonesia in the 40th minute with a long-range shot that deflected off a Turkmen defender, leaving the goalkeeper helpless.
Reyhan Hanan sealed the victory with a header in injury time, capping off a perfect start for the Garuda squad after a dominant 9-0 win over Chinese Taipei in an earlier group match.
The Indonesian team’s impressive performance earned praise from one of their most dedicated fans.
“They displayed solidity from the defense line, midfield, and attack,” said President Joko Widodo, who attended the match in his hometown.
“This was a historic win because the Indonesian U-23 team had never beaten Turkmenistan since their first encounter in 2012.”
Amid the celebration, Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Chairman Erick Thohir admitted that the U-23 squad still needs improvement, particularly in midfield. Currently, the team relies on just two midfielders, Jenner and Marselino Ferdinan, which was evident in the limited player rotation during the match.
However, coach Shin Tae-yong expressed satisfaction with his team’s winning performance and predicted even better results in the final rounds, set to begin on April 15.
“I am confident in saying that the Indonesian U-23 team can compete at a high level in Qatar,” the Korean coach stated.
Last year, Shin Tae-yong led the U-20 team to the Asia Cup finals, but the Indonesians failed to advance beyond the group stage.
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