Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl has slammed Malaysia's “brutal” treatment of Andik Vermansyah while paying tribute to his own team after a memorable 3-0 victory over their Southeast Asian rivals in Solo on Tuesday.
The suspension was lifted in May and the sell-out crowd at the Manahan Stadium that turned out to cheer on the team was treated to a thrilling first half.
He plays in Malaysia so why do they want to kill him? They want to break his leg?
All three goals in the friendly came in the opening 20 minutes, with a brace from captain Boaz Solossa sandwiching Irfan Bachdim's 11th minute strike.
As delighted as Riedl was with the win, the Austrian had some harsh words for the visitors and their approach to Andik, the winger who plays his club football for Malaysia Super League giant Selangor.
“I was disappointed with Malaysia,” Riedl told FourFourTwo. “They did some terrible fouls against Andik.
“The referee was really bad. You can look at some of the fouls on YouTube I suppose. It was terrible and there was no support for our fast players from the referee.
“I have no idea why they chased Andik so much and were so brutal against him. He plays in Malaysia so why do they want to kill him? They want to break his leg? It looked bad. The pain in a friendly game is the same as in a real game.”
Riedl, back in charge of the Merah Putih for the third time, was much happier with his own team, especially given the lack of games for the past 18 months and the lack of training in the past week.
“We did not expect that performance especially in the first half. You have to know we did not have much training. We arrived in Solo on Sunday and trained for half an hour and then trained on Monday for 40 minutes and that's it. To play that way after such little training was very special and has never happened before.
“We weren't nervous and the players were focused on the match. We could see that in the training sessions: the older players were excited to be back and the new ones, more than 50 per cent had not played for the national team before, played well. I don't even know their names as time is too short.
"I told them to try their best and it was really good. They were a little nervous but we treated them like senior players and we got a good response."
The goals dried up after the initial flurry as Malaysia steadied the ship and, according to Riedl, a little fatigue set in.
"In the second half, we had a little problem with a lack of physical fitness and we have to work on that as well as the tactical side of things. But that is easier and we will be ready and fit for the AFF [Suzuki] Cup.”
The former national team coach of Austria and Vietnam also paid tribute to the fans who created a great atmosphere in the Southeast Asian derby.
“In 2014, we sometimes had a few thousand supporters elsewhere but this time it was sold out with 25,000 fans. And when you score three early goals, it is very good for the atmosphere.”
Despite the emphatic victory, Riedl has warned the fans and his stars not to get too carried away.
“This is just one match. It was 3-0 but we don't want to be too happy. It is good to win but we must keep two feet on the ground. Football moves fast and if we get too excited now and then lose the next match, we have nowhere to go."
We have to learn to change our rhythm. There is still a lot of work to do ahead of the AFF (Suzuki) Cup and beyond
The boss wants to take things slowly and build a team for the future.
Indonesia have been drawn with the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore in Group A of the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.
"We know we have some talented players. They just lack a little experience and we will see how it works in the future.
"We expected Malaysia to be strong and we could see that in the second half as we got tired. But the first half, we played a fast game and made lots of pressure.
"We could not keep at this level and we have to learn to change our rhythm but this is for the future. There is still a lot of work to do ahead of the AFF Cup and beyond."
Indonesia's next game is another friendly against AFF Suzuki Cup co-hosts Myanmar in Yangon on September 28.comments