Friday, August 25, 2017
Culling Time Looms Closer For Liga 2
We are now at the business end of the Liga 2 season with perhaps the biggest relegation in the history of football looming. This season's Liga 2 of course started with 61 teams, there are now 59 after Persifa and Pro Duta withdrew, but next season will see just 24 teams competing in the second tier. The teams that don't make the cut will find themselves in next season's Liga 3 while this season's Liga 3 will be next season's Liga 4!
While the likes of PSS, Persebaya, Martapura and PSIS are already planning for the second round a number of teams are contemplating life in Liga 3 next season including a number of sides which traditionally boast a large following.
From Group 1 we have already seen Pro Duta withdraw, they changed their name and their city and are now competing in Liga 3 for this season. Don't ask how, I just can't be bothered to work it out. Persih, who have lost every game they have played this season, have minus 6 points because they never turned up for two games, will not be surprised to find themselves thinking about Liga 3 next season as will PSBL from the northern Sumatran province of Aceh.
Group 2 is looking very tight with Persikabo already relegated but with four teams looking to escape the drop in the last couple of rounds of fixtures separated by four points. With each team facing games home and away it is going to be squeaky bum time for Persikad, Persika, Lampung Sakti and PS Bengkulu
4 - Persika 12 4 4 4 11-12 16
5 - PS Bengkulu 12 4 2 6 11-12 14
6 - Lampung Sakti 12 4 1 7 12-16 13
7 - Persikad 12 3 3 6 12-15 12
8 - Persikabo 12 1 2 9 10-24 5
PSS have walked away with Group 3, they are the only team so far assured of winning their group, and the only question that concerns them will be whether they are joined by PSGC, PSCS or Persibat. We have already seen Persip and Persibangga relegated with Persijap and Persibas looking to avoid the drop. Persijap host Persibat Sunday in a crucial must win game for both teams.
Group 4 has seen hapless Persiba Bantul relegated having scored just three goals in their 12 games. Persipon, PPSM, Sragen United and Persipur face a nervous couple of weeks as they seek to avoid the drop.
Persebaya and Martapura have managed to get promotion from Group 5 leaving the other six sides, including PSIM, fighting to escape the ignominy of relegation. PSBI are already relegated.
Group 6 is wide open with PSMP, Persik, Persewangi and Kalteng Putra harbouring promotions of a play off place. Persida are already down.
Group 7 features teams from five different islands but so far only Persekap's fate has been confirmed, they will be in Liga 3 next season. Everything else remains up in the air.
As for Group 8 featuring the teams from the eastern most part of the country their games were played in Sidoarjo. Persibuol had no points from their opening seven games which suggests they have a bit of a mountain to climb if they want to stay in Liga 2 next season.
The tension is already palpable among players and supporters at Liga 2 clubs with ill discipline and instances of crowd misbehaviour and there are likely to be more in the last couple of weeks as the reality dawns. Expect some interesting happenings!