Hi all, I was at the match yesterday (for us) at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, and I have to say it was a real treat for me seeing Chelsea play against my home country for the first time. Hopefully I'll be able to add some fresh perspective to the match. It won't be a match report really, since Graham's already done a great job on that, but I'd like to focus on some things that people watching on TV might not be able to notice. I'll apologize in advance for not knowing much about the Indonesian team, because you have to be die hard supporter to know all of its players. The starting eleven change almost yearly. I knew quite well the Asian Cup squads of 2010 and 2011, but since then the team has changed drastically.
First off, I was impressed at just how huge Chelsea's fanbase was in Indonesia. The stadium was packed, (the screen at the top showed that a little more than 80,000 people were there), and what surprised me the most was just how many Chelsea shirts were there. About 95% of those 80,000 were wearing Chelsea shirts. It really looked more like I was in Stamford Bridge than the national stadium. I even felt a little pity for the All Stars. Most of these fans were more than just plastic fans too. Lukaku got a huge reception from the fans when his name was read out (he was probably one of the most loved players on that pitch), and the only players the fans didn't seem to recognize were Wallace and Bertrand Traore.
I was pleasantly surprised by Wallace's performance. I was perfectly positioned to see Wallace and Moses in the first half, and Cole and Hazard in the second, and there were only a few moments when I was less than thrilled with Wallace's performance. One of those was when he was fooled by a clever and quick turn by an Indonesian winger. His finishing was actually pretty decent, and he could have had a goal or two but for some good saves from the goalkeeper.
There were huge gasps and murmurs whenever Lukaku touched the ball or went for a header, which goes to show just how intimidating his presence was for both the team and the fans. In this match Lukaku did what anyone would expect to do and use his size to completely dominate the opposition. His first goal, a beautiful header, was hardly even contested. The supporters next to me remarked that even though he was huge, he was incredibly agile. There was one moment I remember where the ball was in the air and Lukaku faked two defenders by looking at the ball as if he were going to head it, and then spinning and dribbling as it came down.
I actually believe the fake whistles were responsible for Lukaku's second goal. The All Stars seemed to stop running and defending, possibly because they mistook the fake whistle for the referee's, and Chelsea took advantage of this to score. What was far more irritating was the flare that was lit about midway through the first half. There were jeers and boos at this, because most of the fans understandably just wanted to watch the match.
Lampard came out and went to sit with the rest of the players, and the moment he came on everyone in my area stood up and cheered. It didn't matter that he was wearing flip flops and was clearly not going to play. Everyone just went wild. There were even chants of "Frank Lampard" around the 75th minute or so.
My brother was an escort for one of the Indonesian players, and he got to shake Eden Hazard's hand in the tunnel, something I was instantly jealous of. My brother was the pretty tall kid wearing sports goggles, if any of you still remembered what you saw during the opening ceremony.
There's a huge pessimistic attitude towards Indonesian national football, and we as a country really believe our team is horrible, so this victory isn't quite as impressive as you might think. Chelsea could have played their U18 team and won handily, so if i were you I wouldn't take too much from this victory. However, I will wholeheartedly agree that this match proved to be a great preseason runout for all the players.
All in all, I'd expect Chelsea to visit Indonesia again very soon. From a Chelsea perspective, what more could you want? The stadium was more packed than Old Trafford usually is, the fans were incredibly supportive, the opposition showed great sportsmanship, and there was great TV coverage, seeing as this country's favorite sport is football and it's one of the biggest in the world in terms of population. Lukaku said afterwards that he would like to visit the country again, and it's not hard to see why.
Please come again soon, Chelsea!