Manila: Indonesia are through to the semi-finals of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 as Group A runners-up after they defeated the Philippines 2-1 at Rizal Memorial Stadium on Monday. 

Bhayangkara FC striker Dendy Sulistyawan scored Indonesia’s opener in the 21st minute before Shin Tae-yong’s side doubled their lead through Marselino Ferdinan two minutes before the half-time break. 

The visitors needed more goals in the second half as they looked to pip Thailand to the top of the group, but it was the Azkals, through Sebastian Rasmussen, who reduced the deficit late on as Indonesia settled for the second place.

It was a lively start to the contest as Philippines goalkeeper Anthony Pinthus had to save in the very first minute to stop Saddil Ramdani’s shot from creeping in at his near post. 

Two minutes later, Nadeo Argawinata tipped Stephan Schrock’s shot over his goal at the opposite end. Rizky Ridho then fired wide after connecting with a Marc Klok corner in the eighth minute before Indonesia had their lead in the 21st minute. 

Pratama Arhan’s long throw into the box was met amidst a sea of bodies by Dendy who expertly flicked his header past a diving Pinthus to provide the breakthrough for the Garuda in the crunch clash. 

Indonesia’s celebrations, however, were cut short due to an injury to their goalkeeper Nadeo who had to be taken off to be replaced by Syahrul Trisna shortly after the opener. 

Fachruddin Aryanto then had the chance to score Indonesia’s second of the evening in the 40th minute after Rizky found him in front of the goal with a ball over the Philippines defence only for the centre-back to balloon his shot over. 

The Azkals came close to an equaliser in the 42nd minute as Amani Aguinaldo headed over a free-kick from Mark Hartmann. But it was Indonesia who found the safety net of another goal just before the interval. 

Marselino played a one-two with Saddil Ramdani inside the box and then guided his shot past the fingertips of Pinthus as Indonesia took another step closer to a place in the semi-finals. 

Indonesia continued to probe for more goals in the second half as they looked to secure the top spot in Group A. Egy Maulana was played through on goal by Dendy in the 67th minute, but the substitute’s finish left much to be desired. 

The Azkals slowly grew back into the game as the half progressed and Syahrul was called into action in the 78th minute as he kept out substitute Sandro Reyes’ effort from close range. 

However, Josep Ferre’s side dealt a blow to Indonesia’s hopes of progressing as group winners in the 83rd minute as Rasmussen made it 2-1 by heading in a cross from 36-year-old Schrock, who was playing his final game for the Azkals. 

Ilija Spasojevic had two late chances to increase Indonesia’s lead, but Pinthus stood his ground to deny the striker as Shin’s side ended the group stage with three wins and a draw.