Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Persiba Fall Short And Face The Drop
Persiba's brave bid to avoid relegation ended in tears as they were cruelly defeated 4-3 at home by Madura United on Sunday when two late goals from the visitors guaranteed them the points and the home side the drop.
The Honey Bears battling qualities were never in doubt right till the end. Against Madura United they had some from 1-0 down to lead 3-2 with 12 minutes remaining. 3-0 down away to Barito Putera they clawed back to 3-2 thanks to Anmar Al Mubaraki in injury time. 3-0 down away to Bhayangkara in 30 minutes they fought back to 3-2 at half time. Leading 2-1 at home to Persib before they equalised with 17 minutes remaining.
Time and again Persiba found themselves either in good positions but unable to close the game down or with too much of a mountain to climb and the minutes ebbing away. Which ultimately sums up their season.
Should they be relegated, and given the lack of transparency over the quarter final stage of Liga 2 giving rise to conspiracy theories about no relegation/promotion this season, there is something to build on in Balikpapan if the nucleus of the squad can be kept together.
That is the nub of course. For many teams, relegation is an excuse not to invest, either time or money, in the local team. Power brokers don't like to be associated with what they see as losers and supporters often lose interest. The money probably won't be there to tempt the likes of Marlon da Silva and Srdan Lopicic to stick around for a campaign in the second tier.
In Persiba's favour is the attendances once they moved to Batakan Stadium. Nearly every game attracted a five figure crowd, something impossible at Persiba Stadium, and even when the final nail was driven into the coffin at the Madura game just shy of 8,000 saw the game.