Saturday, July 01, 2017
PSM Face Persib Test In Week 12
After a near three week break Liga 1 action returns Monday with sides hoping the pause hasn't interrupted their momentum be it good or bad.
Semen Padang get the ball rolling when they host Persela and they will be hoping to claw their way up the table as quickly as possible. With 14 points they are eight points clear of 16th placed Perseru but coach Nil Maizer knows a win could see them back in the top half of the table. Unbeaten at home, Semen Padang did beat leaders PSM last time out so there will be some wind in their sails, especially when they come up against a Persela side which has just one away win all season.
With a new coach, Wanderley Junior, fourth place Persipura will be looking to impress when they come up against the tough to beat Mitra Kukar. The Black Pearls have won their last three home games by a single goal advantage so may feel confident going into this game but ex coach Jafri Sastra has set up his Mitra Kukar side in such a way even if they concede first there is enough about them to earn at least a point.
Three losses in their last five games suggest the tank tracks have come of the PS TNI side in recent weeks but they go into their home game with Arema knowing they could be at full strength after losing a number of key players to suspension. Mind they are up against an Arema packed with big names yet looking for form on their travels. They have just one win and one goal away from home and that came against Persiba which was played in ... Malang! Only Perseru and Persiba have scored less goals than the Crazy Lions and Aji Santoso probably has half an eye on the upcoming transfer window as he seeks to solve the goalscoring conundrum which is afflicting his side. Away to PS TNI won't be his idea of a gentle introduction after a long break!
Borneo may be welcoming back striker Shane Smeltz after his exploits at the Confederations Cup in Russia but it is local lad Lerby Eliandry who has been making people sit up and take note with seven goals in Liga 1. They come up against Madura United unbeaten in their last nine games and with 11 goals in their last three, admittedly home, games. The football club is buzzing and they are looking to tie down Peter Odemwingie to a longer contract as they look to build on their impressive start to the season. Two of the newer clubs in Liga 1, it should be a thriller.
Gresik United are in a bad place. They have a single win and two draws to show for their 11 games and they must host Persija behind closed doors after their supporters invaded the pitch at their game against Persela. Persija, the same side that are really flying with four straight wins.
Bhayangkara could go top if they beat Barito Putera on Tuesday at Patriot Stadium in Bekasi. After two wins on the road at Persiba and Bali United coach Simon McMenemy will be hoping his side can continue that form at home against Jacksen F Thiago's men who have picked up just one point on their travels. 21 year old striker Ilham Uddin has been on fire recently with four goals in his last six outings to his credit putting him one behind veteran Thiago Furtuoso.
When Bali United, who have lost their last two games, host Persiba, who have lost their last two games there can surely be only one winner? Persiba have been abject all season, hard working but lacking quality and it is difficult to see them picking up maximum points in Bali.
The game of the week sees Persib host PSM on Wednesday. Coach Djadjang Nurdjaman is still with the club apparently though in recent days he has been in Saudi Arabia doing a minor hajj. For all Persib's perceived woes they remain unbeaten at home while PSM, for all their fine form, have just a single win on their travels and no matter the problems surrounding Persib a full house on Wednesday will be demanding the players wearing blue get into the visitors from the first minute. It may not be a pretty game to watch but it should be a thriller and PSM coach Robert Alberts will know this will be a strong test of his team's title ambitions