Saturday, October 30, 2010


Persija v Persib 3-0

What a game this was. In a nutshell the first half was evens stevens. Hariono was able to keep a grip on Persija's attacks and the game flowed from end to end. Second half was a whole different ball game, Brain. Persija bossed the midfield with Syamsul and Oliver Markor first for everything. Down the left, Greg Nwokolo led poor Wildansyah a merry dance as Persija blitzed their bitter foes.

To be fair to Persib they were missing Eka Ramdani. Deprive Liverpool of Steven Gerrard and you deprive them of their heartbeat. Ramdani may not be as famous around the world but his presence is similar. He is Persib to the tips of his bootlaces and without him Persib will struggle. Indonesian football isn't equipped with the resources for teams to have two Ekas and Persib probably have the best squad in the islands.

Without Ramdani their midfield looked a pale imitation of itself. Hariono prowled and roared while Atep flattered to deceive and Shahril Ishak faded. But it is the defense, and not for the fist time this season, that will keep coach Jovo Cuckovic awake tonight as he ponders PSPS away next week.

Also missing today was former Persija defender Baihakki Khaizan. How sorely was he missed on the right flank?

Cuckovic may be able to call on Indonesian internationals Markus Horison between the sticks and central defenders Nova Arianto and Maman Abdurahman bit despite having played together for a good few seasons now they still look like strangers to each other. And Jovo's worries are Indonesia's worries as the three of them will expect to represent Indonesia at the AFF Cup in December. Thai striker Teerasil Dangda is going to run them ragged on this showing.

Wildansyah was given a torrid time, especially second half, as Persija encamped in the visitors half. It's not often you're going to see Hariono, Persib's midfield enforcer, battered into submission, as Persija's quick passing and movement had him chasing shadows.

Persija ended the game with goals from Bambang Pamungkas, Greg Nwokolo and substitute Aliyudin. The Jakmania will recall that their best side of recent years, in 2008/2009, featured these three and indeed perhaps only non-football reasons deprived them of the title that season.

Today Persija were impressive, especially second half. I've mentioned the slickness going forward and the efforts of the midfield but at the back they looked assured. New signing Eric Bayemi looked the part while Hendro Kartiko, also part of the Class of 09, looked in control and comfortable with his handling.

But I return again to the enigma that is Persib. That's three defeats in their last four games by my maths and they are just two points off the bottom place. With the players they have they just have to turn the corner. Or change that defence.

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