Indonesia players were nervous before Uzbekistan game: head coach

By Hoang An   April 30, 2024 | 01:06 am PT
Indonesia players were nervous before Uzbekistan game: head coach
Indonesia coach Shin Tae-yong at the 2024 U23 Asian Cup. Photo by AFC
Coach Shin Tae-yong believes that Indonesia players could have performed better and has some regrets regarding the semifinal defeat to Uzbekistan at the U23 Asian Cup.

"Indonesian players were nervous before facing Uzbekistan, so we could’ve performed better," coach Shin said after the 2-0 defeat at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium on Monday night. "But the players fought hard, even though Uzbekistan were stronger. We are definitely still strong enough to go to the Olympics."

Unlike other games in their journey to the semi-finals, Indonesia failed to show their desire and quality against Uzbekistan.

During the match, they took four shots but didn’t hit the target once, while Uzbekistan had 24 shots and four were on goal.

In the 68th minute, Indonesia let substitute Khusayin Norchaev open the scoring with a tap-in. After losing Rizky Ridho due to a red card, Indonesia conceded a second time through Pratama Arhan's own goal in the 86th minute.

This defeat forced Indonesia to compete for third place with Iraq on May 2. If they beat Iraq, Indonesia will qualify for the Olympic men's football. If Indonesia lose, they can still go to Paris through the playoff against Africa’s Guinea on May 9.

While Indonesian media blamed Chinese referee Shen Yinhao and Thai VAR referee Sivakorn Pu-udom, coach Shin refused to do so. The referees made controversial decisions, angering Shin during the match, which led to his yellow card.

"There were things I regret about the match, but I don't want to mention them here," Shin said.

According to the 54-year-old coach, another reason why Indonesia failed was a lack of physical strength.

"We were all tired both physically and mentally," he said. "The team will try to rest the next two days before playing Iraq."

Since the Olympics limited men's football to U23 in 1992, no Southeast Asian team have passed the qualifying round.

Before this, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Indonesia have participated, with Indonesia achieving the best result when they advanced to the quarter-finals in 1956.

The first two Asian teams to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics were Uzbekistan and Japan, both notching up 2-0 victories in the semifinals.

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