Sunday, December 16, 2007


Persija v Sriwijaya 4-2

For any aliens landing in Jakarta on a cloudy December afternoon and ending up in a packed Lebuk Bulus this game is evidence there ain't a whole lot wrong with football in Indonesia. This was a barnstorming affair, not that I've ever stormed a barn, with six goals, could have been 10, impressive individual performances with a little bit of petulance thrown in for good measure.

Obiura gave the visitors the lead after about 10 minutes after some good work down the left flank but Persija weren't going to roll over and die. Three goals in five minutes turned the game on its head round the half hour mark as first an Ismed Sofyan free kick equalised then Ilham and Bambang had the full house going mental.

Atep was a constant threat down the right hand side as he harried and tormented the Sriwijaya left back, showing the form that has him marked down as one of Indonesia's brightest young talents.

3-1 is the most fragile of leads when your opponents are Sriwjaya and so it proved when Benben pulled one back setting the game up for an almighty climax.

Aliyudin, who was presented with his own t shirt from his adoring fans before the kick off, was always a danger with his pace against the somewhat lumbering Sriwijaya defence and it was no surprise when he beat the offside and was pulled down in the box.

The ref pointed to the spot and Bambang, with a goal under his belt and proving his reputation as the nice guy of Indonesian football, passed on the spot kick duty to Agus Indra.4-2.

There was still plenty of time for Sriwijaya to play their way back into their back. Their slick passes and quick breaks worried the Persija defence for whom Hamkah Hamza turned in a commanding performance. But the visitors lost their way and turned to petulance. There was some handbags thrown and dummies spat but those incidents shouldn't be allowed to detract from what was a great game of football.


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