Friday, January 23, 2015



The SCM Cup got under way over the weekend with eight teams competing to lift the trophy. Padang played host to local heroes Semen Padang, Persija Jakarta, Sriwijaya Palembang and Persebaya Surabaya while in East Java Malang hosted Arema, Persipura Jayapura, Mitra Kukar and Persela Lamongan.

Semen Padang got off to a poor start on Saturday, losing 1-0 against Persebaya, Ilham Udin Armayn scoring the only goal after 35 minutes. It continued Semen Padang’s poor pre season after they failed to reach the final of the Mayor of Padang Cup and to compound their woes, many supporters boycotted the game in protest at a decision by Semen Padang to support a controversial Persebaya official in upcoming football association (PSSI) elections.

Just to add to the fun in West Sumatra, the game between Persija and Sriwijaya was postponed and had to be replayed on the Sunday morning after heavy rain made the pitch unplayable. The 8.30 kick off didn’t seem to phase Sriwijaya as they ended up 1-0 winners, Ferdinand Sinaga scoring with 20 minute left.

Mitra Kukar’s new coach, Scott Cooper, saw his new charges go down 5-2 to hosts Arema at the Kanjuruhan Stadium on Sunday in the SCM Cup pre season tournament but he remains unperturbed. Arema took the lead on 24 minutes through midfielder Ahmad Bustomi when his free kick eluded everyone and an awkward bounce left the Mitra Kukar grasping for air.

Cooper’s men responded within when Diego Michiels pwered through the inside left channel and was allowed to poke home from about 12 yards. Cristian Gonzales restored the home team’s lead on 38 minutes, lashing home from 20 yards and that was how the score remained at half time.

On 71 minutes Samsul Arif was left in acres of space to side home and make it 3-1 with a fine side footed finish, burnishing further his credentials as one of the top local strikers in the league. Defender Victor Igbenfo showed a striker’s instinct that would have made Gonzales and Samsul proud as he turned sharply in the six yard box to drive home Arema’s fourth goal and although Zulkifly Syukur did pull one back for Mitra Kukar from the penalty spot with four minutes left on the clock it was too little too late and in the last minute Ahmad Noviadani took advantage of a defensive mix up to retore the three goal advantage.

Cooper though was convinced the score flattered the home team. ‘Honestly,’ he said, ‘I don’t think they were better than us. They just converted their chances.’ The second game in the double header in Malang saw Persela Lamongan defeat Persipura Jayapura 1-0 with former Persija Jakarta striker Pedro Valezquez scoring in the first half.

COMMENT - initially written after the first round of fixtures but not published.

Group A Final Table (Padang)

1 - Sriwijaya 3 2 1 0 4-2 7
2 - Persebaya 3 1 2 0 3-2 5
3 - Persija 3 1 1 1 5-3 4
4 - Semen Padang 3 0 0 3 2-7 0

Group B Final Table (Malang)

1 - Arema 3 3 0 0 11-4 9
2 - Persela 3 1 1 1 2-2 4
3 - Persipura 3 1 0 2 5-6 3
4 - Mitra Kukar 3 0 1 2 3-9 1

Semi Finals

25/01 Sriwijaya v Persela, Arema v Persebaya



Hey ho. With the semi finals and final to be played in Palembang Sriwijaya must be favourites at least to overcome Persela while the other semi final sees an East Java derby without perhaps the passion you would expect closer to home.

Semen Padang's coach Jafri Sastra has paid the price for a poor pre season by getting the tin tack. The team has hosted two high profile tournaments and failed to impress in either. In addition the club have signed and released two strikers, Djibril Coulibaly and Herman Dzumafo, leaving desperately short of fire power going into the new season.

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