Saturday, September 27, 2008


Persija v Persik 1-3

This game had classic written all over and it sure fitted up to its billing as Persik took a surprise three points from Bung Karno Stadium.

You never know what you're getting from Arcan Iurie's men on the road. Last time out at Persela they were feeble but not today. Not after Christian Gonzalez was allowed space in the box after 4' minutes and gave the White Tigers an early lead. Iurie must have been delighted. By scoring early the pressure is on the home side to surge forward leaving gaps at the back. Gaps Persik exploited.

It was the Uruguayan striker's 11th goal of the season, his 130th in Indonesian football, and it had the Persija defence asking questions of each other.

The home side pushed forward, it's all they know, with Greg Nwokolo prmoinent down the left flank but too often poor delivery saw Achmad Kurniawan in the Persik goal threatened little.

Persija spent most of the first half encamped in the Persik half but for all their possession there ws little penetration.

Two quick goals second half for Budi Sudarsono, both smartly executed drives from outside the box, underlined not just his potential but that of his team. Despite being under the cosh most of the match the Kediri side kept two men up top...they just don't defend, while at the back some almost comical defending went unpunished.

Bambang dropped deep and following a flurry of short passes in and around the penalty area he followed up to smash the ball home, his 105th, and give Persija a chance with still almost 30' on the clock.

They pushed forward in an orange tide relentlessly but, with Robertinho strangely anonymous, there was little creativity to fashion an opening and even Persik's three man defence coped with the balls pumped forward almost in desperation.

In a wonderful Persik moment, on the back foot against the pressing Persija, they replace defensive midfielder Legimin with Saktiawan Sinaga. A striker!

As the clock wound down Persik were not content with three goals and time and time again Gonzalez found himself ably supported as his team mates turned defence into attack with the joy of a kid leaving an exam hall.

Some people doubt Gonzalez' work rate but today he was immense. Apart from his goal he worked hard at closing the Persija defenders down, he held the ball up and he provided a reliable outlet for his hard pressed defense.

Young Ramdhani came on as Persija sought inspiration but their bench lacked anystrength or quality and minutes after coming on he was red carded for a reckless challenge. It was a foul, no one contested it, but it was late in the game, he is young and really nothing was gained by the red. But if that's the only complaint then you can see what a feast it was.

21,549 fans filed out of Bung Karno Stadium at the final whistle dejected. Unfortunately for the doom mongers there was no rioting, no violence. Instead perhaps an appreciation that the better team had won. A great advert for Indonesian football, well reffed and played in a sporting manner among two great sides.

Before the game birthday boy Ponaryo Astaman blew out the candles on his birthday cake. But it was Persik who blew Persija away on the pitch.

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