Honours even after Singapore-Indonesia AFF semifinal first leg

Singapore (AFP) – Singapore and Indonesia's played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final at the city-state's National Stadium on Wednesday.


Witan Sulaeman put Indonesia in front after 28 minutes following a slick counter-attacking move, but the hosts levelled the score with 20 minutes left courtesy of a cool finish by striker Ikhsan Fandi.

The teams will play the second leg at the same venue on Saturday, with both sides hoping for a place in next week's final where they will meet either five-time winners Thailand or defending champions Vietnam.

Indonesia reached the last four after a 4-1 win over arch-rivals Malaysia in their final group game.

They nearly took the lead in the 19th minute when Witan's shot went over the goal after an excellent pass from Asnawi Mangkualam.

But the pair combined to devastating effect soon after as they exchanged passes on the right flank before Asnawi cut the ball back for Witan to place a left-footed effort into the bottom corner of the Singapore net.

Singapore came out strongly after the interval.

Faris Ramli should have levelled in the 64th minute when he was sent clear with only goalkeeper Nadeo Argawinata to beat but his shot went wide of the goal.

The winger then redeemed himself, playing a key role in Singapore's equaliser as he rode a challenge in midfield before slipping the ball through for Ikhsan to tuck away his third goal of the tournament.

The Indonesians felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the 77th minute when Ricky Kambuaya was brought down by Nazrul Nazari just inside the box but only received a free-kick from referee Kim Hee-Gon for his troubles.

Both teams squandered opportunities in the closing stages to secure a first-leg win.

Indonesia substitute Hanis Saghara first tested goalkeeper Hassan Sunny with a low swerving drive from 25 metres before Singapore's Amy Recha saw a stinging effort tipped away for a corner by Nadeo.