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Indonesia downs 8-man Singapore team to book Suzuki Cup final berth

INDONESIA needed extra-time to see off eight-man Singapore in the Suzuki Cup semifinals on Saturday as Shin Tae-yong’s side won a drama-filled second leg 4-2 to advance to this week’s final with a 5-3 aggregate victory.

Safuwan Baharudin and Irfan Fandi were sent off during normal time while Faris Ramli missed an injury time penalty and goalkeeper Hassan Sunny was shown a late red card as the hosts were eliminated at Singapore National Stadium.

The teams had shared a 1-1 draw in Wednesday’s first leg and Ezra Walian gave Indonesia the lead with a cool-headed finish in the 12th minute.

Singapore was reduced to 10 men when Safuwan was sent off for a second bookable offense after a set-piece clash in injury time, but Song Ui-young leveled seconds before the break when Shahdan Sulaiman’s free kick went uncleared.

Irfan was then shown a straight red card midway through the second half to reduce Singapore to nine players when he hauled down Irfan Jaya as he raced towards goal.

However, the hosts defied the odds to take the lead 15 minutes from time as Shahdan bent his free kick into the top corner to put Singapore in front.

But with three minutes remaining, Indonesia equalized through Pratama Arhan, who scored from an angle after Hassan Sunny had kept out Witan’s initial shot.

Pratama went from hero to villain within moments when he fouled Shawal Anuar in the area, although Nadeo Argawinata rescued his side when he denied Firas from the spot.

Indonesia’s numerical advantage finally told in extra-time, with Shawal’s own goal in the opening minute of the first period putting Shin’s side ahead.

Egy Vikri poked home from close range to double Indonesia’s advantage in first period injury time while, with less than a minute remaining, Hassan was sent off for a scything challenge on Irfan Jaya.

The Indonesians, who have not won the regional competition since it was launched in 1996, will take on Thailand or Vietnam in the two-legged final on Dec. 29 and Jan. 1.

Thailand and Vietnam meet in the second leg of their semifinal on Sunday, with Thailand leading 2-0 after the first encounter. — Reuters

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