Astaman unlikely for Indonesia

Indonesia are likely to face Saudi Arabia without their captain.

    Crunch time: Indonesian team captain Ponaryo
    Astaman grimaces as he is tackled by a
    player from Bharain [AFP]

    Injured Indonesian captain Ponaryo Astaman is unlikely to be healthy for this weekend's match against Saudi Arabia, in what could be a big blow to his side's chances of reaching the Asian Cup quarterfinals for the first time.

    Coach Ivan Kolev also admitted that attacking left winger Mahyadi Panggabean is also struggling with an injury.

    Panggabean and Astaman were injured in Indonesia's 2-1 victory over Bahrain on Monday, only the team's second win ever in the continental competition.

    "Astaman's condition is not good. He can only jog, he cannot kick a ball," Kolev said.

    He said his captain's chances of starting Saturday were "worse than 50-50."

    "This is big problem for us, he is one of our best players," he said.

    Panggabean was still not healthy enough to train and was also unlikely to play Saturday,the coach added.

    Three-time champion Saudi Arabia looked strong in its 1-1 tie with 2002 World Cup semifinalist South Korea on Wednesday, though it created few chances over the 90 minutes.

    Indonesia will be looking to unsettle Saudi Arabiia's youngsters with its quick-passing approach and hoping the presence of some 88,000 noisy fans can propel it to a famous victory.

    SOURCE: Agencie


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