Thursday, November 22, 2007


Arema v Persiwa 2-1

800 security personnel were on duty for this high octane Eastern Division clash yet the biggest thugs still got through. Persiwa made little attempt to play football in the first half, instead preferring to kick and dive their way through a game that was shown live across the nation, and deserved to go in at half time a goal down.

Persiwa don't get too much exposure and for many here their position at the top of the Eastern Division has been a surprise. Watching their brutish efforts on the pitch today it remains a surprise no more. Enough to say they remain unbeaten at home this season and there are no roads in or out of the Papuan town. A referee is very much on his own out there!

Second half they started playing football and while there equaliser may have had a touch of offside about it the finish from Habel was as aweet a volley as you're likely to see. Relative of course but in a league where flaying is the norm Habel kept his eye on the ball all the way and it was beautifully executed. Much to the delight of the few Persiwa fans in the crowd who didn't get to Malang on the bus.

With 15 minutes left Elie Aiboy, shoing the form he as struggled to achieve internationally, had Persiwa tracking martians leaving new boy Fernando to head home and restore Arema's lead.

With Arema back in the league Persiwa allowed indiscipline to raise its ugly head but to be fair Arema were no saints and a spitting incident featuring Suroso seemingly going unpunished. Without Mbamba they lacked a bit of quality going forward that makes me sound like Brian Marwood so I'll stop now.

Arema's victory takes them on to 48 points but with two games in hand on the Papuan leaders Persiwa and Persipura. For Persiwa they stay joint top but two straight away defeats won't be much of a surprise. They are where they are because of their home form.

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