Saturday, December 15, 2007


Liga Preview

Take your Manchester Uniteds, Liverpools and Fabio Cappello's and try sticking them some place the sun don't shine, Liga Indonesia is where it's at and despite being a troubled season for the FA the climax promises to be as exciting as any place in the footballing world.

Today Persib, roared on by a cast of thousands, play Persita in a game that their Technical Director, Risnauder, describes as life or death. Without a win in seven, without a coach and today without the suspended Patricio Jiminez Persib do have Eka Ramdani back but he must be pretty knackered having spent the last couple of months jetting between Argentina, Syria, Malaysia and Thailand. If there is one thing in their favour Persib have the best away record in the Liga, having collected 19 points on the road.

In the Eastern Division Arema host Persiba in the evening game knowing that three points will put them level on top with Persipura and Sidoarjo. Persiba currently lie seventh and have Play Off dreams of their own. Victory today would put them on 52 points, the same as Arema. It will be interesting to see whether Mbamba lines up this evening after his little spat last time.

A Play Off series without PSM would be like Christmas Day without a hangover but there is a real danger the Sulawesi giants could miss out. They lie eigth on 48 points, four points adrift of 4th spot Arema. Today they host 5th placed Persiter who have 51 points.

Tomorrow will also have fans of Indonesian football sitting round their TV sets all day. Third play first at Lebuk Bulus as Rahmad Dharmawan returns to Jakarta, where he coached last year, brings his Sriwijaya safe in the knowledge they are the only team sure of a Play Off place, his third in three years. (Previously with Persipura and Persija). Persija, with three remaining games all at home, have been playing weel recently with Robertinho, their 23 years old Argentinian import, more impressive with every game while Rueben Ceco, on the bench, adds strength in depth. Bambang and Aliyudin up front have netted 25 of the Kemayoran Tigers 45 goals this season, a lethal partnership though perhaps too lightweight for the international stage.

PSIS have had a rough old season since de Porres and Ortiz moved on and today they sit 9th on 44 points, just squeezing into the Liga Super next year ahead of PSDS and Persema on goal difference. Today they travel to Persema knowing time is running out. Three points is a must with just two games left after the weekend.

PSMS don't concede much at home, just five all season. It's hard to see Persikabo breaching that defence unless Rodrigo Santino and Roger Batoum get lucky. Christian Gonzalez lines up against Persela tomorrow for Persik Kediri with five points separating them in the table. The Lamongan team have one of the better away records in the Liga but Persik have lost once at home in four seasons.

The other games in the Western Division see Persitara go to Semen Padang and Persikota make the long journey to PSSB.

In the Eastern Division how about Sidoarjo v Persebaya? A win or draw over their near neighbours would see the Deltras go top of the table as they welcome back Jose Sebastian and Moriera. Persebaya have just two points on the road all season, this won't be a good day for the local police who could be kept busy!

In the other game two tourist destinations battle it out at the bum end of the table. PSIM, 15th, versus Persegi Bali, 16th.

Oh yeah and Sunday sees Arsenal play Chelsea!

So what are your plans?


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