Four red cards, two brawls: Indonesia beat Thailand to win football gold in dramatic SEA Games final

Four red cards, two brawls: Indonesia beat Thailand to win football gold in dramatic SEA Games final

PHNOM PENH: Indonesia won footballing gold at the Southeast Asian Games on Tuesday (May 16), beating Thailand in a hot-tempered match that had seven goals, four players sent off and two brawls.

The match had been billed as a chance for Indonesia to restore some pride to a national game recently laid low by a deadly stadium disaster and the loss of hosting the Under-20 World Cup.

Their 5-2 extra-time win achieved that – as well as a first gold since SEA Games men’s football became an under-23 competition – but not before a topsy-turvy 120 minutes at the Olympic Stadium.

The drama began when Indonesia went 2-0 up just before half-time, Muhammad Ramadhan getting his second of the game in controversial circumstances.

He had beaten centre-back Jonathan Khemdee to the ball to loop a shot over the goalkeeper and into the net. But Thailand’s players remonstrated that the ball was not being contested at the time, having been passed back by Indonesia after a stoppage.

Neither their opponents nor the referee were having any of it, and the War Elephants were incensed.

After the break, Thailand made most of the running and halved the deficit just after the hour mark via the head of Anan Yodsangwal.

Chances were running out for them, not helped by Indonesian gamesmanship and time-wasting.

But that did not bother the thousands of Indonesia fans among the 28,000 crowd inside the ground, ready to toast a redemptive victory.

When the referee hit his whistle for a Thai free kick deep into stoppage time, many on Indonesia’s coaching staff mistook it for the final whistle, and ran onto the pitch to celebrate.

After they were cleared off, Thailand took the free kick and Yotsakon Burapha beautifully worked some space before lashing home a 97th-minute equaliser to take the game into extra time.

That prompted the still-aggrieved Thai players and staff to charge over to their opponents’ bench in gloating celebration, sparking the first brawl.