World Cup Qualification
AFC – Group 6
Sun. 28 May 1989
Kick-off: 
Gelora Senayan Main Stadium, 
Jakarta
Att.: 80,000
Video: highlights

Indonesia 0 – 0 Japan

Ref.: Salah Mohammed Karim
L1: Rahim Subhi
L2: Abdel Kader Latif

(All Iraq)

(Twitter thread)

Preview

Both Indonesia and Japan were in action for the second time in the qualification, and a significant result from the other match in this group, played the evening before, was Hong Kong 1, North Korea 2. This saw to that a win for either of today’s combatants meant they would be joining the Koreans atop the group with four fixtures left.

Japan had failed to see off Hong Kong earlier in the week, and were surely realizing that they were once again up against home opposition which would receive plenty of vocal support from their fans, meaning that they would need to maximize their effort to return back home with both points. For Indonesia to have drawn against North Korea a week earlier had been a terrific result, and they must have felt optimistic ahead of the visit of the Japanese select. Indonesia were reigning Southeast Asia champions, having defeated Malaysia 1-0 in the final on home soil back in 1987. This was noted as their strong era, and it is worth mentioning that they would reclaim that regional title in 1991, having conceded it later in 1989 to Malaysia.

Indonesia (4-5-1)

PlayerNotesAgeClub
1 Eddy Harto27KTB Palembang
3 Jaya Hartono25Petrokimia Putra
6 Robby Darwis24Kelantan
9 Ricky Yacobi26Arseto Solo
10 Jessie Mustamu26
11 I Made Pasek Wijaya19Pelita Jaya
12 Maman Suryaman25
13 Mustaqimsub 61′24
14 Rully Nere32Persipura Jayapura
15 Herry Kiswanto34KTB Palembang
18 Lubis Hamdani

Substitutes
8 Agusman Riyadion 61′
Manager: Nirwan Bakrie

Japan (3-5-2)

PlayerNotesAgeClub
1 Shigetatsu Matsunaga (c)26Yokohama Marinos
2 Katsuyoshi Shinto28Mazda
5 Tetsuji Hashiratani24Nissan Motors
6 Takumi Horiike23Yomiuri
7 Masami Ihara 45+1′21Yokohama Marinos
9 Masaaki Mori27Fujita Industries
10 Masanao Sasaki26Honda
13 Satoru Mochizuki25Nippon Kokan
16 Mitsunori Yoshida27Júbilo Iwata
17 Osamu Maedasub 82′23Yokohama Marinos
23 Kenta Hasegawasub 86′23Nissan Motors

Substitutes
8 Takashi Mizunumaon 81′29Yokohama Marinos
21 Hiroshi Kurosakion 86′21Honda
Manager: Kenzo Yokoyama

Tactical line-ups

Match report

First half:

While we do not have any information on the attendance figure for Indonesia’s opening qualifier the previous weekend, the Jakarta national stadium is pretty well populated for the visit of Japan. The number is given as 80 000, although the arena was said to hold in excess of 100 000 at the time. Since our video from the game has no display of all sections of the stands, we can’t verify the figure. There is no reason not to find it credible, as views of some of the compartments reveal how well populated they are.

Indonesia’s manager Nirwan Bakrie had decided to go with precisely the same eleven starters as last time around. Unfortunately, we do not possess any video material from the 0-0 draw against North Korea. Bakrie was said to run a pretty organized and strict regime for the national team players, and later in the year, they would go on and win the football tournament of the South East Asian Games, on that occasion held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the sixth time in seven attempts since 1977. However, to have to make do without ‘the Indonesian Maradona’, Zulkarnain Lubis, must have been a set-back to the management team. Still, the select contained players who appear to have been held in very high regard at the time. Please note that we have been unable to identify the team captain. The footage reveals no player with anything resembling a captain’s armband, and we are also without the pre-kick-off customs with the captains’ greetings and the coin toss. 

From the Japanese bench

Japan had hardly impressed in their qualification opener in Hong Kong, and a draw had been just about the fitting result six days earlier. Their manager, Kenzo Yokoyama, had made two changes to his starting eleven, with defender Tomoyuki Kajino and midfielder Kasumi Oenoki giving way to Katsuyoshi Shinto and Satoru Mochizuki respectively. They kept with their 3-5-2 formation. Were they to retain a serious hope of making it through to the final qualification round, they could certainly not afford a defeat here.

Opening sequences

There is not much to suggest that there is a gap in quality between the sides in the opening quarter of an hour. The hosts are clearly fired up, and they have a huge crowd spurring them on, something which sees them on the front foot almost right from the word ‘go’. They look disciplined in the way they’re set up, not allowing the visitors much space in a compact midfield, where both teams are equipped with three players in the centre. Indonesia had come away with a point against a fancied North Korea, and had probably taken a lot of heart from that result. They were in no mood to play second fiddle. 

Kenta Hasegawa strikes one goalwards

The first chance falls to the hosts three and a half minutes in, as they almost capitalize from a mistake by Japanese libero Ihara. The tall defender nearly deflects a low free-kick from the Indonesian right hand side into his own net, with goalkeeper Matsunaga committed. The ball is diverted half a yard to the right of the goalpost, and ends in a right wing corner, which ultimately is fruitless. Down the other end, with just over six minutes on the clock, it is Japan midfield man Hasegawa who is allowed to step inside from the right hand channel and fire a shot on target with his left foot. The drive is beaten away by goalkeeper Harto at just the right height for him, though the Indonesians would’ve been disappointed to have let Japan in with a shooting opportunity from 22 yards out. 

The start to the game sees the home side looking the most committed, while Japan appear somewhat wary, not wishing to be exposed inside their own half. Having obtained a solitary point the previous week, they could do well with securing a win on this occasion, though they would far from come out all guns blazing. A modest approach seemed to be Yokoyama’s recipe for success. 

Formations

The home side were in a 4-5-1 outlook in which they fielded a libero in the shape of their number 15 Herry Kiswanto, age wise their most experienced team member at 34. He looked to have a decent understanding of when to remain at the back and when to advance ball at feet, although once inside the opposition’s half, he didn’t always appear too confident, losing possession through some sloppy passing. Alongside him at the heart of the Indonesian defence was Robby Darwis, while left-back Jaya Hartono would also tuck inside when needed, at times appearing as a third central defender. Along the right was Lubis Hamdani, who would appear to be willing to make forays into the opposition’s half, although this did not seem to be a particular trait in their tactics. 

While their midfield composition could be said to include five members, it was the three most central performers who made them tick. At the base sat 26 year old Jessie Mustamu, while Rully Nere was to his advanced right, and Maman Suryaman across in a central left role. In particular Nere was someone with sound legs, despite his 32 years of age. Mustamu was seeing a lot of the ball, as they would seek to build through him. They were also frequently engaging their two wide players, where the team’s youngest member, 19 year old I Made Pasek Wiyaja, who started out on the right, but who would make a switch across to the left some 11-12 minutes in and for the subsequent 25 minutes, lent a lively impression. He was of slender build, but was certainly not afraid to make use of his pace or to take a man on. The other wide man, Mustaqim, was, at least in the early stages, far more anonymous. Perhaps was the switch between the wide men made in order to try and ignite the latter. Up top was the solitary figure of Ricky Yacobi, who was constantly giving chase to the Japanese defenders as the visitors were trying to mount from the back. 

In the away camp, it was evident that the 3-5-2 formation which they had come out in for their most recent match was once again in use. While they were still captained by goalkeeper Matsunaga, it was young libero Masami Ihara who remained their key defensive figure, with his relative height a prominent feature. He seemed confident in possession, and positioned himself well, although that early intervention had almost seen him divert the ball into the back of his own net. Around him as centre-backs were Horiike and the newly arrived Shinto, with the latter being somewhat orientated towards Yacobi. Wide defenders were once again Mori along the right and Sasaki across from him. The former seemed the more competent in going forward. 

At the deep end of their midfield sat once again Hashiratani, working as a shield in front of his centre-backs. He would allow the other two midfield men, Hasegawa and newcomer Mochizuki, to join in operations inside the opposition’s territory, although the latter failed to let his presence be felt in the early stages. Hasegawa seemed quite busy, and he would thrive when he was coming forward in that right hand channel. His final ball didn’t have sufficient quality, though, and his goalbound shot apart, Japan had failed to threaten the home side’s goal. Up top were once again the Maeda/Yoshida combination. 

Physical

The pace of the game was not great. Both sets of defenders would casually stroll with the ball at their feet before mounting anything from the back, something which always enabled opposing players to get close and put a tackle in. The sturdy Hashiratani liked to administer a bit of pain on the Indonesian midfielders, of whom Nere seemed to take the brunt of the hits. He was quite an active, industrial little schemer, the Indonesian inside right midfielder, and luckily he was back up again shortly. He would get his own back on the holding Japan midfield man, who also stayed down for a little while although the tackle had hardly looked severe. 

Rully Nere comes desperately close to scoring

Goalscoring opportunities had hardly come by with great frequency, although 25-26 minutes into the first half, there would be a chance at either end. Japan hit an outswung left wing corner by wide defender Sasaki, which centre-back Shinto got on to 14 yards out. His header went into the ground, where Maeda attempted to prolongue the ball’s trajectory and poke it past the ‘keeper. Still, there was little pace to the attempt, which was comfortably cleared close to the goalline by left-back Hartono. Indonesia’s chance was easily the best of the game so far, as Yacobi flicked a header into the path of Nere, who had made a fine run into the heart of the Japanese penalty area. He poked a low shot with his right boot which was parried by Matsunaga’s left foot; it could so easily have gone in. Ihara cleared the rebound away for a corner before the arriving Mustaqim could apply a finishing touch. Big, big opportunity for the hosts to move in front. 

Limited quality

Through to half-time, little happened both in terms of goalmouth action and in moments of quality. The pace remained low, something which could probably partly be due to the heat (supporters were seen waving their little fans in the stands), and there were few probings from either side; not a whole lot of inventive play. The visitors would either go long towards their front two, or involve the busy Hasegawa when attempting to threaten the home goal. Hasegawa would infrequently have Mori as an option outside of him, and they were clearly more effective when making forays along the right hand channel. Their left hand side was very sparingly in use. 

Herry Kiswanto

The home side saw an effort on target a couple of minutes before the break, with Mustaqim, who had switched from an original position along the left hand touchline across to the right, as Wijaya had moved the other way early on, the man behind the not too difficult shot from 25 yards out. It was comfortably held by the Japanese goalkeeper. The Indonesians would often look to libero Kiswanto, who remained instrumental in their build-up phase, though it was almost baffling how he continued to give the ball away once inside the opposition’s half through his sloppy passing. 

A rare moment of attacking intent on behalf of either side saw Yacobi pull wide to the right and make his way towards the byline, before putting in a cross in the direction of Wijaya, who clearly was not having aerial play as one of his assets. He was small in stature, and having moved inside too soon, he realized the ball would drift over his head and away to safety in what had originally looked a promising move from the hosts. 

The first half’s solitary yellow card was produced just after the 45 minute mark, as Ihara, somewhat out of character, mowed down winger Wijaya to the left of Japan’s penalty area. While there was little need to question the referee’s right to make use of the card, the home side failed to take advantage of the free-kick in a promising position, and with a minute of added time having elapsed, the Iraqi official signalled for the half-time break with no score. Hopefully, the second half would bring about an improvement. 

Second half

As the teams reappeared for the start of the second half, there were no changes among the 22. For those of us fortunate enough to have obtained a copy of the entire game, we had been entertained right through the half-time break by the Japanese TV commentators, who were non-stop talkers. It would’ve been interesting to know their exact verdict, although you’d be pushed to think that they were conveying their views in positive terms following an opening 45 minutes in which the visitors had rarely impressed. Could they up the ante for the final period, or did the tricky Indonesian team have an ace up their sleeve? They were performing the second half kick-off through Nere and Yacobi.

Visitors look to raise their game

The Indonesians try to gather courage from the 80 000 strong crowd, which does provide plenty of sound. However, Japan might feel that they have something to prove, and they proceed to win the first corner of the second half. As right wingback Mori goes out to take the right wing corner, he’s a bit on edge due to objects being thrown from the stands. Despite the athletics tracks separating the pitch from the spectators, there is what could be a water bottle landing fairly near the Japan man, and he instinctively ducks. Fortunately, he’s not hit. What appeared to be a major goalscoring opportunity came from the set-piece into the centre of the six yard area which the ‘keeper failed to get anywhere near, although Japan’s Maeda was adjudged to have obstructed Harto, with an Indonesian free-kick the outcome as both Shinto and Mochizuki came to attack the ball. It was probably a lucky escape, as little contact seemed to have been made against the home side’s number 1.

It is an odd choice by Matsunaga to punch rather than claim on this occasion

The visitors look sharp in the early exchanges, and they are pressing higher up the pitch than they had been during the first half. They typically regain possession, although their lack of midfield creativity ensures that the Indonesian defence is rarely put to any severe tests. Japan prefer to build from the back, with ‘keeper Matsunaga passing it to either central defender, who in turn look for one of the two inside midfielders, Hasegawa or Mochizuki, who will come and collect faced towards their own goal. One is left wondering why Indonesia do not put greater pressure on the pair already prior to them receiving the ball, although that is about to change with around 12 minutes gone of the second half. The hosts suddenly up the ante, and the visitors side start to look somewhat stressed. In this phase the Indonesians are led by the industrious Nere, whose constant running and harassing appear to bewilder the visitors. There is little end product, though. Matsunaga reveals his insecurity when coming for balls into the area, as he opts to weakly punch a cross from the hosts’ right hand side when he ought to have claimed it outright.

Japan almost move ahead on 59 minutes, as Horiike is first to a headed clearance from the home defence, and he plays it over the top for Sasaki, who has made fine advance along the left handed channel. He makes it almost to the edge of the area, left from centre, where he lets fly an attempt which the ‘keeper somehow can only beat away in a peculiar manner. Harto nearly concedes an embarrassing own goal, although the ball spins away to safety a mere half yard to the left of the upright and away for a resultless corner.

The nerve is constant, and the players are spurred on by the excellent atmosphere created within the stadium. For the hosts, they have remained with young Pasek Wijaya as their right winger after the early first half switch, which had seen Mustaqim cross to the left. The former had enjoyed a bright start to the second half, with a couple of runs along his flank. End product, though, had once again eluded him. Through the centre, lone striker Yacobi was facing a losing battle against the strong Japanese centre-halves.

Mustaqim departs for Riyadi just beyond the hour mark

Indonesia opt to make a change 16 minutes into the second half, with the largely anonymous Mustaqim leaving the pitch to be replaced by Riyadi in the number 8 shirt. It turned out to be a like for like change. The hosts’ earlier burst to life had seemed to vane again, and the visitors would get more time on the ball, looking increasingly confident in the process. While there had been a forward foray by home libero Kiswanto followed by a poor 30 yard effort straight into the hands of Matsunaga, it is the visitors who soon take advantage of some sloppy play inside their own half by the home side. They concede possession 30 yards from goal along the right, something which Sasaki gleefully accepts, playing a pass across to Yoshida, who is able to free himself from some lenient ‘pressure’ by the recently arrived Riyadi and take aim at goal. Clever goalkeeping by Harto had seen him come off his line to narrow the angle quite substantially, and thus making a not all too difficult save from the Japanese striker’s left-footed drive from 20 yards out.

Game in need of a spark

Not a whole lot is happening as the second half grows older. The Indonesian substitute appears to have been brought higher in the pitch, perhaps in another attempt at putting pressure on the Japanese defenders, who are otherwise allowed plenty of time on the ball, interpassing or playing it forward to either of the pair of inside midfielders. However, the Indonesians look less energetic than previously, and fail to get close enough, at least collectively, to apply severe pressure. The next opportunity comes the visitors’ way again, as Maeda heads tamely into the hands of Harto following Mori’s cross deep from the right hand side. 20 minutes left for either team to conjure up something special.

Were the teams’ respective matches from a week earlier catching up with them? Or were the conditions so troublesome that both teams were already exhausted and incapable of mounting any serious attacks? The latter stages of the game were more based on coincidences than anything premeditated. Indonesia beyond the 70 minute mark were woeful, although in 81 minutes they’ll arrive at a fairly decent goalscoring chance due to a rare error by Japan libero Ihara. Having taken his eye off the ball for a moment, Yacobi had stolen in and ghosted past him and into the area. However, a terrific recovery job by right wingback Mori made sure the lone striker could not finish one on one with the Japanese skipper.

There were some serious tackles, and a few players needed medical attention during the second half. Said Ihara had gone to ground earlier, and had perhaps felt the effects as he’d dallied on the ball to concede that opportunity? The hosts’ Mustamu was laid on to a stretcher for a challenge by one of the Japanese midfielders, although he’d make a miraculous recovery once they were about to carry him to the touchline. Then, with five minutes left for play, there was the most horrendous attempt to tackle an opponent by Indonesia’s left-back Hartono, who kicked down Mori’s shin with plenty of force. The referee didn’t even have a word, possibly because Hartono himself went down and demanded attention from the medical staff. It seemed like play-acting and little else.

This is Yacobi as he is inches away from making contact with Darwis’ cross on 85 mins

Japan appear to mount a decent opportunity as Hasegawa plays a one-two with Maeda after a run from midfield, though he is unable to control the return pass, and Kiswanto can regain control for the hosts 18 minutes from time. Then, four minutes later, there’s a wasted free-kick from the edge of the area after Indonesia’s defensive midfield man Mustamu had brought Yoshida down. However, there’s no mirroring Indonesia’s final attempt to carve out an opener, as centre-back Darwis wins the ball from Japan’s substitute Kurosaki, who had replaced Hasegawa in that inside right midfield role. Having made the tackle midway inside his own half, he then proceeded all the way to par with the Japanese six yard area to the left outside the penalty box, from where he delivered a fine, left-footed cross. Yacobi was inches away from connecting with his head, which likely would’ve meant 1-0.

Due to the earlier casualties, the Iraqi official lets the game run for three minutes into additional time before he calls an end to the procedures. The goalless score comes as a shock to no one considering how the game had panned out. A 0-0 outcome seemed just about right.

Conclusion

A draw was a fitting outcome, although there had been goalscoring opportunities in both directions. The opening half had been a tense stalemate, where some pretty big challenges had come flying, although only Japan libero Ihara had been cautioned. Indonesia’s energetic midfielder Nere came close to scoring with a toe-poke which Matsunaga parried with his foot, while a Shinto header almost saw Maeda divert the ball into the back of the net. The visitors were superior aerially, and looked a threat at set-pieces. The home side never held any fear. After the break there was more of the same, with the visitors probably looking more coherent in their build-ups. Yet the home side were on par with Japan for large portions of the game through their sheer tenacity and endeavour. Two very creditable 0-0 draws in the space of a week for Indonesia, while Japan probably had expected more than a similar record.