Indonesia's Mighty Mouse's birthday wish
Indonesian star Andik confident he can sink Singapore, just like he did in 2012
SINGAPORE v INDONESIA
(Today, 7.30pm, Singtel TV Ch 114 & StarHub TV Ch 208)
He jinks past defenders with ease.
But Indonesian wing terror Andik Vermansyah was faced with a barrier he could not sidestep after the Garuda's training session at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila yesterday.
Several members from the Indonesian Embassy in the Philippines had teamed up with about 40 members of the Indonesian media to surprise Andik and two other teammates with a birthday cake.
The pint-sized attacker turned 25 on Wednesday, while teammates Rizky Pora (27 on Tuesday) and Lerby Eliandry (25 on Monday) also celebrated their birthdays this week.
While Andik appreciated the gesture, he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the attention.
"Mari, mari... bicara sahaja (Come over, just talk)," he implored to this reporter, almost hoping an interview with a foreign journalist would save him from the eager Indonesian contingent.
Eventually, after posing for photographs with his adoring supporters, he managed to sprint out of the stadium and hop on the team bus.
Earlier, the player nicknamed "Mighty Mouse" - because of his 1.62m height - told The New Paper what would make the perfect birthday present.
"God willing, I will be able to make my mark against Singapore again tomorrow," said Andik. "I'm confident I can do it."
The Selangor player has already been the bane of the Lions once before.
At the 2012 Suzuki Cup, Andik put in a Man-of-the-Match performance coming off the bench to down Singapore 1-0 in a group-stage match.
First, his trickery duped Irwan Shah into picking up two bookings in three minutes to earn a sending-off, before he scored in the dying minutes with a free-kick from well over 30 metres, which looped over Izwan Mahbud into the top corner.
Andik has been in good form for Indonesia in this year's Suzuki Cup, and his turbo-charged dribbles have terrified opposition defenders.
He also had a hand in Indonesia's second goal against the Philippines on Tuesday, after a booming shot from outside the box struck the upright before being swept in by Boas Salossa.
However, he is anticipating a tough time tonight.
"To me, Singapore have the strongest defence in the Suzuki Cup," he said.
"They are very compact and their players are very hardworking.
"Their defenders rarely make mistakes, so whatever openings we get tomorrow, we must be decisive and take them.
"If not, we might end up paying the price."