Bangkok: Indonesia head coach Bima Sakti felt Thailand’s goal on the stroke of half-time was the decisive moment in their 4-2 defeat in the AFF Suzuki Cup on Saturday.

The Garuda had made a bright start and took the lead with Zulfiandi’s stunning strike. But Thailand levelled when Korrakot Wiriyaudomisiri scored direct from a corner kick.

Another Korrakot set piece then caused havoc in the Indonesian penalty area before Pansa Hemviboon gave the hosts a half-time lead that was scarcely deserved.

“I think we played with good organisation in the first half and we got the goal but when Thailand got their second goal from a set piece, our players heads went down,” said Bima.

“We played well in the first half but in the second half, we made too many mistakes and that’s why we lost.”

Despite an indifferent start, the Thais demonstrated their strength by adding two excellent goals in the second 45 minutes to put the game beyond their opponents. Bima felt that this performance confirmed that Thailand looked capable of lifting their third title in a row.

“I think Thailand is a strong team,” he said. “They have many good players in the midfield and forward positions and they also do well from set pieces.

“We had big problems because they got two goals from free kicks. I think Thailand has a big chance to be champions in this tournament.” 

Indonesia now get ready to host the Philippines in what could be a crucial encounter next Sunday. Indonesia have a full week to prepare but the results of the other Group B matches in midweek will determine what they need to do when they play the Azkals in Jakarta.

“We play with nothing to lose in the next game and we concentrate on the match on November 25th,” said Bima.