Indonesia"s Mahardiga Lasut (L) fights for the ball with Malaysia's Jasuli Mahali during their qualifying group football match at the 26th Southeast Asian Games (SEAGAMES) in Jakarta on November 17, 2011. Malaysia won 1-0. (Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP)
JAKARTA, November 20, 2011 (AFP) - Hosts Indonesia meet defending champions Malaysia in a potentially explosive football final at the Southeast Asian Games Monday with their bitter rivalry adding spice to their duel for gold.
Indonesia will be determined to avenge a 1-0 loss to Malaysia in the final group game last week, in front of an expected capacity crowd of at least 90,000 fans at Jakarta's cavernous Gelora Bung Karno stadium.
The hosts go into the final buoyed by a 2-0 win over tournament top-scorers Vietnam in Friday's semi-final in a game which saw a return of the counter-attacking game that helped them to three group game wins.
The Malaysians were less convincing in their semi, scrambling to a 1-0 victory over a plucky Myanmar, but will be boosted by the knowledge they have already beaten the hosts and silenced the hostile home crowd.
They also boast the competition's stingiest defence, having conceded just twice in five outings and looked untroubled during Thursday's match by the pace of Indonesia's attack of Titus Bonai and Patrich Wanggai.
The crowd may be the decisive factor, with reports the Malaysian team are so worried about their safety that they have asked Indonesian police to provide an escort to and from their nearby hotel to the stadium.
A lot is at stake, with the hosts determined to secure a football gold for the first time in two decades and deny their nemesis a second title on the spin -- Malaysia beat Vietnam to take the 2009 gold in Laos.
"The Malaysian team is very strong -- we lost to them the other day. What we need to do is stay on guard and work tight as a team," Bonai told AFP Sunday.
"If we do that, I'm confident we can win."
The enmity between the two nations was heightened following Malaysia's away victory over Indonesia in last year's AFF Suzuki Cup final.
Malaysia's coach Ong Kin Swee has vowed to "go all out" to win on Monday night, telling state media "this is the last hurdle for us to defend our gold medal."
His side are unbeaten and topped Group A with three wins and a draw giving them 10 points, one ahead of Indonesia who won three with their only loss at the hand's of Monday night's opponents.
While their full international team struggles, Indonesia's under-23s have delighted fans with a string of eye-catching SEA Games performances.
Midfielder Oktavianus Maniani vowed his team were ready for the challenge ahead.
"They (Malaysia) are a good strong team with excellent players, so we're going to do our best and see what the result is," he said.