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Group D: Iraq 1-2 Indonesia

Tabriz: Indonesia sealed top spot in Group D of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 after scoring a hard fought win over Iraq on Sunday.

Indonesia will face the Group C runners-up - either Japan or Vietnam - with Iraq to play the group winners.

With their places in the knockout rounds confirmed after both teams had beaten Chinese Taipei, Sunday's tie was to decide the group winners.

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Muhammad Wildan played in goal for Indonesia, with compatriot Ahmad Habiebie serving a one-match ban following his red card against Chinese Taipei, and Wildan was up to the task as he firmly saved Hayder Raad Al Dayyeni’s effort in the third minute.

Both teams were equally matched, but Indonesia, who were quicker on their feet, looked more likely to open the scoring, only to be denied by the upright twice, through Dewa Rizki Amanda and Muhammad Rizki Xavier’s efforts in the fifth and sixth minutes respectively.

Iraq had their moments but had to be wary of Indonesia’s counter-attacks, one of which saw Firman Adriansyah surging across the court, but Rizki Amanda failed to connect with the subsequent pass into the box.

Indonesia were also dangerous with their set-pieces, and displayed their prowess in the ninth minute when Adriansyah found the back of the net with a back-heel effort, courtesy of Filippo Inzaghi’s pinpoint pass to the unmarked forward near the side netting.

Ali Talib Muhammad’s Iraq began pressing the Indonesians, keeping the Southeast Asians in their own half for the better part of the first period but couldn’t find the equaliser.

Indonesia, however, coped well despite the pressure and in the 17th minute, Ari Ramdani found space to receive Muh Agung Pandega’s pass, and he made no mistake in beating goalkeeper Layth Ghassan Dawood to make it 2-0.

Iraq, the 2017 runners-up, pulled themselves back into the tie 30 seconds into the second half, as Hussein Hamid Al Khafaji dispossessed Mohammad Afif Rizky in midfield before finding the back of the net at the end of a solo run.

Despite throwing men forward, Iraq failed to find a second goal as Indonesia held on for the win.

Ali Talib Muhammed: Iraq head coach

“First of all, it was hard luck for my team and congratulations to Indonesia. For the first five minutes, some of our players weren’t at their best, but towards the end, we presented a challenging game. This is futsal, we win, we lose, and luck wasn’t on our side. We lost the match and not the tournament. For us, the tournament only begins in the knockout stage.”

Sayan Karmadi: Indonesia head coach

“In the second half, Iraq put more pressure on our defence. We were panicking a bit after conceding the early goal and committing four fouls, but our players kept calm. Iraq opted for power play, which we anticipated, and I think we handled it accordingly. We had analysed the two teams before, especially Japan, since we met them in a friendly match in Taipei. Against Vietnam, we drew 3-3. We will need to be focused, whether it’s Japan or Vietnam."

Photos: AFC

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