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David Beckham Hails Indonesian Talent

Farah Fitriani Faruq
Farah Fitriani Faruq
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David Beckham Hails Indonesian Talent
Indonesia came away from a footballing masterclass with David Beckham with heads held high, despite losing to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday. Former England captain Beckham and his coach, Bruce Arena, were both full of praise for the footballing talents of their hosts. Irish striker Robbie Keane’s goal in the 14th minute sealed the Major League Soccer club’s victory at Gelora Bung Karno, but the host team — a mix of players from the national Under-23 and senior teams coached by Rahmad Darmawan – clearly impressed its illustrious guest. The MLS champion didn’t entirely dominate the match as expected. The combination of Andik Vermansyah, Greg Nwokolo and Patrich Wanggai up front wreaked havoc in the Galaxy’s defense, but some woeful finishing meant the host was denied the goal its play deserved. Arena gave a thumbs-up to the Indonesians after the match and reserved special praise for Andik and the newly naturalized Nwokolo. “Indonesia played very well. It was a difficult game. It was a good performance ... The team has very good balance,” Arena said after the game. “Numbers 21 [Andik] and 10 [Nwokolo] played well.” Beckham was also impressed. “Like the manager said, it was a difficult game. The Indonesia side is very quick and they know how to play the game,” said the star midfielder, who decided to swap jerseys with Andik after the game despite tangling with him during the match. “I felt bad for kicking him [Andik]. He’s very talented player and I wanted his shirt,” he said. Meanwhile, Rahmad said he was proud of his team despite a lack of preparation time. “The difference was that the Galaxy could control the game tempo,” he said. “This is a good experience for the boys, playing against world-class footballers.” The downside was that Beckham, a household name around the world, only managed to attract 25,700 fans to the 86,000-seat stadium in Jakarta. The Galaxy will continue its Asian tour in Manila against the Philippines on Saturday. The tour wraps up in Australia on Dec. 6 with a match against the Melbourne Victory.

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