Bekasi, W Java (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian U-23 national team suffered its first defeat, 1-2, against Palestinian U-23 national team in Group A of Asian Games 2018 men`s football today at Patriot Candrabaga Stadium in Bekasi, West Java.

In previous fixtures in the group, Indonesia crushed Chinese Taipei 4-0 in its Asian Games opener, while Palestine drew with Taiwan and later secured a victory 2-1 over Lao PDR.

With 15 minutes into the match, Zulfiandi Zulfiandi`s hand caught the ball in the Indonesian penalty area and the referee awarded Palestine a penalty. Though penalty taker Mohamed Darwish hit the post, Oday Dabbagh followed up and scored the opener for Palestine.

In front of a loud home crowd with more than 20,000 spectators, the Indonesians responded quickly and pushed several times to the other end of the field. In a goal line scramble in the 24th minute, Irfan Jaya found the space and scored. The decibel level surged as spectators cheered for the equalizer. The Indonesian almost took a lead in a counterattack 2 minutes later but hit the post.

At the half time, the two sides had equal shares of ball possession. The Palestinians took 12 shots, an overwhelming figure comparing to the 2 shots by Indonesians. But Indonesia had a much better shot accuracy, converting the single shot on target to a goal.

In the opening stage of the 2nd half, the Palestinians were the brighter side. Missing a penalty in the 1st half, Mohamed Darwish notched a goal in the 51st minute.

The Indonesians tried to get back into the game in the 2nd half but failed to put their offense together in the final third. Their closest chance came in the 83th minute, as Stefano Janjte Lilipaly misses a shot from a long pass. The score remained 1-2 as the referee blew the final whistle.

After the match, players and staff members from both teams gathered around at the center circle of the field and held hands to demonstrate their solidarity.

In the post-match interview, Indonesian goalkeeper Andritany Ardhiyasa said that Palestine was one level better than Indonesia today and the Indonesians were defeated not because of a single opponent but because their weaker performance.

Palestinian coach Ayman Sandouqa noted that his team showed what Palestinian football is today and delivered the desirable result today. He also praised the speed and cross-balls of Indonesian left winger Febri Hariyadi, who added the unpredictability to the match.

Palestine topped the group with 7 points now, while Indonesia fell to the 3rd place, behind Palestine and Hong Kong. Indonesia will face Lao on Aug 17th in Bekasi.

Reporting by Chi Jo-yao
Editing by Azizah Fitriyanti, Eliswan

Reporter: antara
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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