Wednesday, August 23, 2017


PSMS Away Form Allows Rivals To Catch Up

Not too long ago I was discussing Liga 2 with a few people and talk soon turned to which teams would be promoted to Liga 1 out of the 16 which would go through to the knock out rounds. The general consensus seemed to be PSMS had one promotion spot sewn up thanks to their blistering start to the campaign which had seen them win their first five games.

Historically PSMS are one of the big names in Indonesian football, six times winners of the Perserikatan, and traditionalists say it is their clash with Persib that is rightly known as the local Classico. However recent years haven't been kind to the football club as they have suffered from ownership issues and dualism. The team that featured the likes of Markus Horison, Saktiawan Sinaga finished runners up in 2007, competing in the AFC Cup in 2009 against the likes of Johor FC and Chonburi. The Malaysian side went on to become Johor Darul Ta'zim while PSMS fell from sight.

Their first hiccup came when they travelled to Pekanbaru to take on PSPS, another big club fallen on hard times but with ambitions to return to the top flight. That game ended 0-0, PSMS dropping points for the first time in the season but keeping a clean sheet for the sixth game on the spin. 

The Medan side returned to winning ways in their next game, defeating Persih 3-0 at home. Rather, the record books show they won. In fact Persih didn't travel to the game and PSMS were awarded the walkover. 

In the four games since the hollow victory over Persih PSMS have struggled to find the consistency that so marked the  beginning of the season. They were held 0-0 away to Kelpri 757 before losing for the first time this season, 2-0 away to Persiraja. A week later PSMS returned to winning ways, defeating PSBL 2-0 on the road but came unstuck in their next away game losing 1-0 to PS Timah (formerly known as PS Bangka).

The eagle eyed will have noticed a pattern. PSMS started the season playing five home games in their opening seven ties giving them the perfect opportunity to build up a good head of steam. Now the Medan team are being forced to play games on the road and they are struggling to replicate that home form in more hostile environments, something many Indonesian teams can identify with.

Today PSMS have the opportunity to get their season back on track when they host PSPS and a look at the table will show you just how important three points are. From a conversation where all assured my PSMS were a shoo in we now see them looking over their shoulder at their rivals. However when push comes to shove I still think they will be there or thereabouts when it comes to Liga 1 next season. After all in Indonesian football sometimes what is most important is not what happens on the pitch.

1 - PSPS 12 7 4 1 22-8 25
2 - PSMS 12 7 2 3 19-6 23
3 - Persiraja 12 6 4 2 19-9 22
4 - PS Bangka 12 6 1 5 18-17 19

There is some good news for PSMS mind. Their last game of the season comes away to Persih, the team that no showed in the middle of last month. The team that are bottom of the group and have conceded 24 goals in their last four games

UPDATE - In a thrilling top of the table clash in Medan it was PSPS who took the points coming from behind to defeat PSMS 3-1. Zulfikar gave the home team the lead on 28 minutes and when the players trooped off at half time it looked like PSMS had refound their mojo. However a second half brace by ex Persija and Persipura midfielder Victor Pae bookending a strike by naturalised striker Herman Dzumafo ensured a surprise victory for the visitors and sees them leapfrog PSMS back to the top of the group with a two point cushion.

With PSPS, PSMS and Persiraja all having played 12 games and just three points separating them these are their remaining fixtures.

26/08 - Persiraja v Kelpri 757
10/09 - Persih v PSMS
10/09 - PS Bangka v PSPS

*Table includes first game played against Pro Duta who have subsequently withdrawn from the league. 

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