Saturday, April 29, 2017
Djadjang Feels The Heat As Persib Face Sriwijaya
Three games to day with Borneo hosting Persegres at Segiri Stadium first up. It's been a slow start to the season for Borneo, who have dropped the Pusamania from their name, with a draw against PS TNI and a loss away to Sriwijaya but they will be looking forward to playing in front of their own fans for the first time this season.
During the week Borneo released Brazilian defender Helder Lobato and replaced him with another Brazilian, Matheus Lopes who has previously played for Chengdu Tiacheng in China. At the other end coach Dragan Dukanovic will be looking to his striking options, Shane Smeltz, Patrich Wanggai and Lerby Eliandry to make life difficult for the visiting side who sit one place below them in the table
The visitors could be missing some of their big names with Goran Gancev, Choi Hyun Yeon, dan I Gusti Rustiawan likely to be absent from today's game. Like Borneo, Persegres have started the season slowly. They followed up a draw away to Persipura by somewhat surprisingly losing 3-1 at home to Semen Padang though coach Hanafi will be pleased with the form of striker Patrick da Silva who has netted twice this season.
This match was initially slated for an afternoon kick off but was switched to early evening after a request from the home team.
Uniform sides are quite the rage in this part of the world. Thailand have Police Tero, Navy, Air Force Central and Army United. Malaysia has PDRM and ATM while Singapore boasts Home United and Warriors. For years Indonesia didn't bother but in recent seasons both the police and the military have decided to get more involved in professional football.
The military took over Persiram, the police took over what was once known as Persikubar, later became known as Persebaya, Surabaya United etc. Today the sides meet in Bekasi with the cops, now known as Bhayangkara, hosting the military, still known as PS TNI..
Neither side has hit their stride yet. Bhayangkara defeated Perseru 2-1 in their first game of the season which surprised no one - the Papuan side don't travel well. Last time out though they were defeated 2-0 by Arema. But new coach Simon McMenemy has built an interesting looking squad with the promising talent of Evan Dimas being joined in midfield by the veteran Firman Utina.
Visitors PS TNI are another side with a focus on youth. Last season they adopted a policy of local players only which provided valuable experience for the youngsters but meant they were whipping boys most of the campaign. New coach Laurent Hatton has been allowed to add some foreign experience to that mix and brought in Hong Soon Hak, Aboubacar Sylla, Aboubacar Camera and Portuguese striker Elio Martins.
They have started the campaign reasonably well, drawing 2-2 with Borneo and Persib including that stirring fightback last weekend against Maung Bandung when two late goals earned them a point. Striker Gustur Cahyo has started the season on fire, scoring in both games.
Whatever the background of the two teams, this game offers the opportunity for fans to see some of the most promising young players in the country do battle on the field.
The last game today sees Persib host Sriwijaya. Ahh Persib. Two games, two points has seen their fans flock enmasse to social media demanding coach Djadjang Nurdjaman stand down with recently deposed Thai coach kiatisuk the suppoerters choice to replace him.
Despite boasting a squad many clubs would kill for Persib have yet to hit the heights which saw them crowned ISL champions back in 2014. Fans responded negatively to Djadjang's decision last week to replace debutant Billy Keraf with Carlton Cole and the was they conceded two late goals against PS TNI has only added to the disquiet around the football club. Playing Sriwijaya couldn't come at a worse time. Last season they began their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Laskar Wong Kito at home and it took an injury time goal to earn that point. Something similar today would not go down well with the faithful.
For all the perceived woes Persib are only two points behind the visitors. Sriwijaya began their season with a 1-1 draw away to Semen Padang and followed that up with a 1-0 win over Borneo with Hilton Moreira scoring both goals. They have added their own marquee player during the week with Tunisian Tijani Belaid coming in to bolster the ranks.
As if there isn't enough pressure on Persib to get a result in this game, lining up for the visitors is defender Yanto Basna who left the club under acrimonious circumstances at the end of last season. A strong performance by him and a failure to collect three points could make for a feisty atmosphere in Bandung!
Madura United v Mitra Kukar 2-2 (Peter Odemwingie, Dane Milanovic; Marclei Santos, Anindito Erminarno)
Semen Padang v Persipura 1-0 (Rico Simanjuntak)