Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Strike forces collide

Today's crucial Play Off between Persija and Persipura at the Delta Stadium, Sidoarjo, throws up four of the most prolific strikers in the Indonesian game today.

Persija boast of the only local partnership in the Liga with Bambang Pamungkas and Aliyudin. Bambang made his first appearance in 1999 and has since scored 101 goals for the club he calls home while Ailyudin, also 27, has hit 70 sine he first appeared in 2002 for Pelita Krakatau Steel. But while Bambang has only played for Persija, his strike partner has also hit the net for Persikota where he played from 2003 - 2006. Both have 17 goals in the Liga this season.

The Papuan Black Pearls maybe without their own local hero, Boaz Solossa has made cameo appearances in the Play Offs, but they have their own hot shot imports.

Ernest Jeremiah, 22, was brought in to replace Boaz when he got injured playing for Indonesia and in 17 games hit 10 goals including a wonderful bullet header that started the route against Persik last Saturday. His partner is Brazilian Alberto Goncalves, 27, in his first season in Jayapura. Beto, as he is known, has 18 goals from 34 starts and the pair of them provide pace and strength aplenty for Persipura.

In the recent Copa semi final at Bung Karno Persipura tore Persija apart and coach Isman will be hoping his defence is more disciplined this afternoon than on that hot afternoon. The head to head however points to Persipura. The last four meetings, all in the Copa have gone the Papuans way with three victories and a single draw.

Persija will be hoping Robertinho recovers from a leg injury in time for this afternoon's kick off.

The other game sees Persik play Deltras in Solo and Persik's aim is clear. With a negative goal difference they must ripple the Deltras net at least four times and hope Persija lose to stand any chance of qualifying. The Sidoarjo side have failed to impress in their first Play Off appearance and will be keen to give their supporters a show in the East Java derby. If any team can score goals for fun though it is Persik Kediri but much will depend on whether the FA enforce the two match suspension given to striker Christian Gonzalez for his role in the handbags after the game with Persija.


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