Monday, February 09, 2009


Persib v Persipura 1-1

A pulsating encounter at a packed Jalak Harupat Stadium saw honours even between two sides eager to have a say in where this season's ISL title ends up. Persipura, having suffered a rare defeat last time out after something like eight straight wins, will probably be the happier of the two sets of campers.

The Persib fans had come to praise Christian Gonzales, their new recruit from Persik, but it looked for 82 minutes like the no nonsense defending of the Black Pearls had shackled the prolific striker.

The first half had been an in your face affair with more action in the opening 30 minutes than I saw in 120 of weekend action. Persib had the edge, hitting the woodwork and forcing Jendri Pitoy into some desperate saves but half time was 0-0.

Second half and Persipura coach Jacksen Tiago threw on Boas Solossa to try his luck alongside Ernest Jeremiah and Alberto Goncalves. It took 11 minutes to pay off.

Persipura broke quickly from a corner with Boas going wide. He looked up and seeing Brazilian Goncalves unmarked delivered a perfect cross that was buried with glee.

Lorenzo Cabanas was the puppet master for the home team with Hilton Moreira tormenting the Papuan side. Hariono built on his recent fine showings for the national side with an industrious performance in the middle alllowing Cabanas the opportunity to set up his strikers but it looked increasingly like it wasn't to be their night.

Until Hariono scuffed a shot. Gonzales, unmarked on the 6 yard line, took one touch to tee himself up and with the next he toe poked it beyond the reach of Pitoy. It's what he does, Ian Rush's predatory instincts combined with Mark Viduka's shape, the Uruguayan oozes goals and this was his 15th of the season.

Jeremiah could have won the game for Persipura in injury time as he broke into the box but he never had the ball fully under control and his shot ballooned over the bar and into orbit where it stays until now.

Possibly not the resuly coach would have wanted for his Persib side but until the 82nd minute the city of Bandung was staring defeat in the face. As the whistle ended you could see by the players' reactions they knew thay had contributed to something special. It was not champagne football, more Yorkshire Bitter than Moet, but it was good, honest endeavour, with some rolling round thrown in for good measure.

Persipura return to the top of the ISL on goal difference ahead of Sriwijaya while Persib stay 7th. If Persib can get results on the road regularly they should soon start climbing the table.

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