Saturday, June 17, 2017
Another Victory, Another Clean Sheet, Persija March On
Last night saw Persija defeat Sriwijaya 1-0 to climb up to 4th place in Liga 1, just four points behind leaders Madura United. The win was the fourth on the spin for the Macan Kemayoran and their sixth game unbeaten. A run of games that has seen them concede just one goal, that late equaliser against Mitra Kukar.
The protests that greeted that disappointing draw, with fans calling for coach Teco to step down after a disappointing start to the campaign and the club giving the coach two games to change things, have all but subsided as Persija, perhaps inspired by the recall of Bambang Pamungkas and Ramdhani Lestalahu, have turned things around so spectacularly.
Their last defeat came away to Persela and I said at the time I felt they had played well and Teco was being treated unfairly, weighed down by the baggage of history and underachievement, and it is refreshing to see how a little bit of patience is being rewarded.
Last night's victory came courtesy of Brazilian defender William, his second in two games, with a header from an Ismed Sofyan cross. The game was played behind closed doors in Cikarang after a number of incidents of crowd trouble in Bekasi and indeed their are some concerns the team may not play anymore home games there this season.
Coach Teco's challenge now lies in keeping that winning momentum going with the team not playing another competitive game until 4th July when they travel to East Java to play Gresik United (another game that will be played behind closed doors for Gresik fans' pitch invasion against Persela).