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‘Machine-like’ Bali United's strength showed, says Platje

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Melvin Platje

Bali: Melvin Platje believes that Bali United displayed their true strength by coming from a goal down to defeat Vietnam’s Than Quang Ninh 4-1 as they got their 2020 AFC Cup Group G campaign off to a winning start on Tuesday. 

Than Quang Ninh were reduced to 10 men early on at Bali’s Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium but the hosts fell behind to Jamaican Jeremie Lynch’s goal and went into the interval trailing despite their man advantage.

But the Indonesian champions came out firing after the restart with Rahmat Syamsuddin equalising almost immediately, before Platje netted a fine volley and a superb curling effort into the top corner either side of an Ilija Spasojevic penalty to complete a resounding win.

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“Our opponents were a good team and played very good football but I think we showed how strong we are,” said Dutchman Platje.

“They made it 1-0 but you saw in the second half how we played after speaking in the changing room. Everybody helped each other, ran for each other and fought for each other.

“We are physically so good. All our players are machines. Not only the 11 on the pitch, but the substitutes and the whole squad.”

FULL-TIME | 🇮🇩 @BaliUtd 4-1 Than Quang Ninh 🇻🇳

💪 Indonesian champions Bali United begin their #AFCCup2020 Group G campaign with a big win after a superb 2⃣nd-half comeback! #BLUvTHA

— #AFCCup2020 (@AFCCup) February 11, 2020

Bali won just one of their six games when they made their AFC Cup debut in 2018, but Stefano Cugurra’s side showed they mean business this time round as they produced a stirring second-half display.

After Rahmat’s leveller, Platje took centre stage, with the 31-year-old’s outstretched leg connecting perfectly with a long ball over the top from Paulo Sergio to volley the Serdadu Tridatu in front minutes later.

Spasojevic all but wrapped up the three points from the spot but Platje was not done, creating space for himself on the edge of the area before sending a beautiful finish beyond Huynh Tuan Linh in the visiting goal with 13 minutes to play.

🎥 WATCH | 🇮🇩 @BaliUtd 4-1 Than Quang Ninh 🇻🇳

The Indonesian champions produced a strong second half to pick up all 3⃣ points!#AFCCup2020

— #AFCCup2020 (@AFCCup) February 11, 2020

“We scored good goals and I scored two nice goals, but there was also very nice passing from Paulo,” added Platje.

“I think everybody deserves the compliments. We fought so hard and we never gave up, and that’s our team.

“We created so many chances and that’s the quality we have. We’re defensively so good but in attack we are also very good as you saw by how many goals we scored.”

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Kerja keras malam ini terbayar tuntas! . Supported by @indomie dari @rumahindofood . #Indofoodxbaliunited #indomie #un1tyforasia #satukantekadjuang #gorengsemangatmu #baliunited #beyondfootball #ACFCup

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Bali will look to take their winning momentum into their next game against Cambodia’s Svay Rieng FC – who lost 4-0 against Ceres Negros of the Philippines in the other Group G game – when the pair clash in Phnom Penh on February 25.

Than Quang Ninh, meanwhile, will aim to bounce back from a disappointing start to their first AFC Cup campaign since 2017 when they travel to the Philippines to face Ceres on the same day.

“It was a very difficult game because we were playing with 10 men from the fourth minute,” said Than Quang Ninh’s goalscorer Lynch.

“Bali United are a very good team and it was so difficult to play against them with 10 men. They were the better team and deserved to win.”

Photos: Bali United, AFC

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