The Indonesians toiled to break down the Laotians early on during the Group A match at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. But after skipper Firman Utina had given the home side the lead from the penalty spot in the 27 minute, the floodgates opened.
Muhammad Ridwan made it 2-0 before the break and Firman added a second early in the second half before goals by Irfan Bachdim, Arif Suyono and Oktovianus Maniani completed the rout.
Yet Riedl admitted it could have been very different if Kanlaya Sysomvang had not hit the woodwork for Laos in the 10th minute.
“It may have looked like an easy win for us in the end but today’s game was not easy. Laos hit the post early on and we had no chances in the first 20 minutes. Winning 6-0 at the end was a good result for us but in the beginning we had a lot of problems,” said the Austrian, who had a spell as the head coach of Laos earlier this year.
“It was not easy for the first half-hour but after we went ahead 2-0 or 3-0 then the match became easier. Against such opposition, if you can score goals, then the match is easy but if you cannot, you can struggle.
“I am a little sorry for my friends in Laos because I made a lot friends when I was coaching there. But in football you have no friends, you only have opponents. Later on, maybe we can go for a drink.”
The key thing for Riedl was that his side had secured first place and a spot in the last four before their final group match against Thailand.
“The best thing about today is that we have qualified for the semi-finals,” he said. “Now we can try to give some of our other players a chance to play in our last game. But we shall see what happens over the next few days before deciding on the team.”
“However, we will still play a fair match against the Thais for ourselves and the public. We will try to win the match.”
Laos drew 2-2 with Thailand in their opening game but the result against Indonesia brought home the point that they still have much work to do to close the gap on the bigger sides in Southeast Asia.
Said Laos coach David Booth: “We have to try to minimise mistakes against teams like Indonesia, Thailand or Malaysia. Unfortunately tonight we conceded a penalty and then we conceded a bad second goal when we had possession and gave the ball away.
“At 2-0 at half-time, it wasn’t going to be easy to come back because we’re not that strong, to be fair. But we decided we weren’t going to sit back and minimize the damage. We tried to get a goal back and we tried to attack but unfortunately it didn’t quite work and we finished quite badly.
“If that early chance had gone in, it would have given us something to fight for. But the penalty for the first goal and then the mistake outside the box cost us badly. We can’t afford to do that.”