Any disappointment lingering around the Tennis Indoor Stadium at Gelora Bung Karno will be tempered, though, given results in the other group.
Wednesday’s semifinals will see Indonesia take on Group B winner Malaysia, which held favorite Vietnam 2-2 and finished in a surprising first place. Malaysia and Vietnam both finished on seven points, with the Malaysians owning a better goal differential. Australia meets Vietnam in the other semifinal.
Indonesia coach Robby Hartono urged his team not to take Malaysia lightly, with a victory guaranteeing the team a place in the tournament proper in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from May 23-30.
“Malaysia has shown great improvement in their games. Topping their group is proof,” Robby said. “Past results do not count. We have to be at our best to beat them and qualify for Uzbekistan.”
Indonesia faces Malaysia at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, with Australia and Vietnam following at 6:30 p.m.
Avoiding Vietnam should boost the host’s spirits. Indonesia is unbeaten in its last three meetings with Malaysia, the most recent of which ended 7-3 during the Asean Football Federation Futsal Championship in Ho Chi Minh City last June.
In that same tournament, Indonesia lost 11-10 to Vietnam in the semifinals.
Robby said Australia’s Futsalroos, who are also heavy favorites to win the Asean zone, deserved the victory as they were the better team.
“It was an interesting game. The boys showed good fighting spirit. We tried to win, but we failed,” he said. “I hope this loss won’t disrupt the players’ spirit, so they will fight with more determination in the semifinals.”
Australia took an early lead through Tobias Guang Haa Seeto in the fifth minute, with Indonesia equalizing four minutes later when Karismawan scored from Jaelani Ladjanibi’s feed.
The visitors took back the lead when Simon Keith scored after a scramble in front of the Indonesian goal.
They nearly tacked on two more goals early in the second half as Indonesia’s focus waned, and Fernando Lima De Moraes scored from a Dean Lockhart feed to put Australia ahead 3-1 after 27 minutes.
With time running out, Robby threw caution to the wind and put in striker Sayan Karmadi as the goalkeeper. The move backfired, though, as Sayan fumbled a shot and presented Gregory Giovenali a tap-in to make it 4-1.
“It was a very tight game, while also very enjoyable to watch,” Australia coach Steve Knight said. “Indonesia showed a better-organized defense in the start, but they lost focus in the end and had bad defense.”