Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Hong Phuc (white) loses the ball against Indonesian players during the AFF U23 Championship final at Rayong Stadium, Thailand on August 26, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
If the ASEAN Football Federation does not penalize Vietnam for a collision in the AFF U23 Championship final on Saturday, Indonesia should stop playing Southeast Asian tournaments, club president says .
On Saturday, in the 113th minute of the final, Indonesian defender Haykal Alhafiz and Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Hong Phuc both looked for the ball on the flank. Phuc cleared the ball and leapt to dodge a high foot from Alhafiz. When Phuc landed, he swung his arms back, which hit Alhafiz’s face. It took a while for Alhafiz to return to the game after medical treatment.
Head referee Hiroki Kasahara did not sanction Phuc, but many considered his play intentional.
After the match, Achsanul Qosasi, president of Indonesian club Madura United, wrote on Instagram: “If Phuc is not penalized by the AFF, Indonesia should do something and consider stopping participating in tournaments. South East Asia. After hitting Alhafiz, he should have apologized. and showed some respect.”
Indonesian fans were also furious with Phuc’s actions. They flooded his Instagram with criticism and even insults. Her most recent photo received over 35,000 comments from Indonesian fans and her account has now been deactivated.
A few minutes after Phuc’s play, Alhafiz took his revenge with a violent tackle on Nguyen Dang Duong. This time the referee gave Alhafiz a yellow card.
Kasahara handed out eight yellow cards in this match, three for Vietnam and five for Indonesia.
The match, played at Rayong Stadium in Thailand, also featured other dangerous actions from both sides, but no goals were scored. In the penalty shootout, Vietnam scored all their penalties, while Indonesia missed one with goalkeeper Ernando Ari.
Vietnam became the first team to defend the AFF U23 Championship.
Indonesia has already considered leaving the AFF, following the AFF U19 Championship in July last year. They said Vietnam and Thailand played without sportsmanship in the final match of the group stage, which ended in a draw and eliminated Indonesia prematurely. The Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) complained to the AFF and considered leaving Southeast Asian football to join the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF).