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Group A - Matchday Three: Indonesia 1-0 United Arab Emirates 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Indonesia rejoice

Jakarta: 10-man Indonesia sensationally qualified for the AFC U-19 Championship quarter-finals for the first time in 40 years, beating United Arab Emirates 1-0 to eliminate the visitors at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

A 23rd-minute goal from Witan Sulaeman gave the hosts the lead, but they had to dig deep to hold out after captain Nurhidayat Haji Haris was sent off early in the second half.

Qatar's 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei in Bogor means the United Arab Emirates are out of the competition, suffering the cruellest of eliminations to be edged out on goals scored in matches between the three Group A sides tied on six points.

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Taking the momentum from the Sunday's sensational comeback with them into the crucial tie Indonesia started in a spirited fashion with Egy Maulana Vikri and Sadil Ramdani both causing early Emirati headaches.

With newfound defensive organisation and a 30,000-strong crowd roaring them on, the hosts bore little resemblance to the side that conceded six goals in less than an hour against Qatar.

Todd Rivaldo Ferre, Indonesia's three-goal super sub against the Qataris, remained on the bench throughout the opening 45 minutes but he was hardly needed as Indonesia were largely the better team.

Despite that, the decisive goal was the result of sheer opportunism, with Witan robbing Emirati defender Yousef Ali of the ball 40 yards from goal before outpacing everyone in the vicinity and slamming the ball home from just inside the penalty area.

With the crowd electrified, the Emiratis had to negotiate a tricky ten-minute period to limit the damage to one, with the ever-dangerous Ali Saleh earning a a free kick, and forcing Muhammad Riyandi into a solid save upon taking it, to give the West Asians a moment of respite.

With Qatar and Chinese Taipei locked at 0-0 in the other match, both sides were going to the quarter-finals as things stood at half-time, but both knew they required a positive result to remain in control of their own destiny.

Rivaldo Ferre was introduced at the break, but local hopes suffered a major blow in the 53rd minute, when Nurhidayat was sent off for a second bookable offence after bringing down Omar Ahmed Saleh.

The complexion of the game changed in an instant, and it was the visitors who began to look more threatening, although the Garuda Muda were still able to produce moments of promise when they ventured forward.

Qatari goals in Bogor meant United Arab Emirates could no longer afford to lose, and they had their best chance of the game so far when Ali Saleh volleyed wide from 12 yards in the 74th minute.

In a chaotic finale, and despite seven minutes of additional time, Indonesia held on to secure not only a famous victory, but also an improbable trip to the last eight.

Photos: AFC

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