Indonesia became the final team to book their place in the AFC Asian Cup™ 2023 after an emphatic 7-0 triumph against Nepal in the last game of the Qualifiers at Jaber Al Ahmad Stadium in Kuwait City.
Indonesia finished second in the group behind Jordan, pipping the Philippines to the fifth best runners-up ticket to the Continental showpiece and qualifying to the tournament for the first time since co-hosting it in 2007.
Team Garuda wasted no time to take the lead inside six minutes against the Gorkhalis. Dimas Drajad headed Aswani Bahar’s cross from the right into the bottom far corner to open the scoring.
Drajad and Witan Sulaeman took turns missing the target from each other’s crosses within the first half hour as Indonesia looked to find a second to cement their win early on.
Nepal were reduced to 10 men in the 33rd minute. Suman Aryal was shown the red card for a second bookable offence. Aryal gone in heavily with a raised foot against Bahar.
As the first half drew to a close, Indonesia doubled their lead in style. Once more it was Bahar’s creativity from the right that set up the opportunity, but this time he advanced into the byline and cut back for Drajad who intelligently let the ball roll beyond him for Sulaeman who kept his composure to convert it into the far corner for 2-0.
Nepal vs Indonesia AFC Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers
The Indonesian crowd in Kuwait celebrated once more in the 54th minute as a goalkeeping mistake. Fachruddin Aryanto sweep home the third following Marselino Ferdinan’s cross.
No time was wasted in adding the fourth of the night a mere minute later as Saddil Ramdani demonstrated exceptional skill to finish with the outside of his left foot, converting Muhammad Rafli’s chipped pass first time.
With 10 minutes to go, Elkan Baggot made it 5-0, beating goalkeeper Deep Karki. His side footed shot from the edge of the area went into the bottom corner.
Straight from kick-off, Ricky Kambuaya dispossessed an opponent deep into the Nepalese half and fed Sulaeman who slotted home his second of the night and Indonesia’s sixth.
The Indonesians rounded off the scoring in the last minute of the game. Rafli setting up Ferdinan to smash home the seventh.
The result meant Indonesia qualified for the AFC Asian Cup for the fifth time in their history. They previously played 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2007 Asian Cups.