Football

Published: Thursday December 19, 2013 MYT 10:08:00 PM
Updated: Thursday December 19, 2013 MYT 10:10:15 PM

Manahati at the heart of Indonesia's win

Malaysia's Ahmad Hazwan Bakri (front) heading the ball away from Indonesia's Manahati Lestusen in their semi-final match at the Zeyar Thiri Stadium in Naypyitaw on Dec 19, 2013. Indonesia won after a penalty shootout.

Malaysia's Ahmad Hazwan Bakri (front) heading the ball away from Indonesia's Manahati Lestusen in their semi-final match at the Zeyar Thiri Stadium in Naypyitaw on Dec 19, 2013. Indonesia won after a penalty shootout.

NAYPYITAW: Indonesia's defensive lynchpin Manahati Lestusen is glad that he answered his country’s call to help the football team try to win the SEA Games gold medal.

The 20-year-old was not involved in Indonesia’s 2011 SEA Games campaign on home soil, which ended in heartbreak when they lost to Malaysia on penalties.

But Manahati, who plays for the Liege-based Belgian Second Division side CS Vise, answered his coach Rahmad Darmawan’s special call-up to feature in the squad to Myanmar.

“The entire country felt the pain when Indonesia failed to win the most important gold medal of the Games in front of the home crowd. I was not part of that team ... but I have a duty now to play my part in setting things right,” said Manahati.

“It is only fitting that today’s semi-final against Malaysia also went to penalties and was settled by the same scoreline. I failed to convert my spot kick but, luckily, my team-mates were there to bail me out.”

Manahati, who acted as a cover in front of the Indonesian backline, played a pivotal role in cutting off Malaysia’s numerous raids, especially in the second half.

However, he was disappointed that A. Thamil Arasu was allowed to score the equaliser six minutes from time after Bayu Gatra Sanggiawan had put Indonesia ahead in the 30th minute.

“We were all concerned with getting back into the penalty box to provide cover for our goalkeeper that none of us checked the Malaysian player’s (Thamil) run.

“This sort of lapses in concentration could prove costly in the final. Regardless of the opponent, we need to repeat the same kind of performance displayed against Malaysia in the final,” said Manahati, who was the only one among the five Indonesian penalty takers to miss in his team’s 4-3 shootout victory.

He was awed by the positive attitude shown by his team-mates in volunteering to take the spot kicks.

“The coach told us earlier that two years ago everybody was scared of volunteering to take the spot kicks against Malaysia because they did not want to be made the scapegoats if they failed. Tonight, we were so determined to make the final that everybody’s hands was popping up,” said Manahati.

“It will be great if we can go on and win the gold medal for the people of Indonesia to make up for the 2011 disappointment.”

Two years ago, the final in Jakarta also ended in a 1-1 draw before Malaysia triumphed 4-3 in the shootout.

Tags / Keywords: football, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, SEA Games, Naypyitaw, Nyapidaw, Manahati Lestusen

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