Friday, May 25, 2018
Bauman And Ezechiel On Fire as Persib Prepare For Bali Weekend
It's difficult to read too much into the Liga 1 table at the moment. Halfway through round 10 just nine points separate leaders Persipura (17 points) from bottom club PSIS. The fine art of defending seems to have gone walkabout with just three teams having conceded less than 10 goals so far and two of them (Perseru and Persija) in the bottom four.
While defensive coaches may be tearing their hair out at the other end forwards are having the time of their life and none more so than the new partnership at Persib.
Former Johor Darul Ta'zim coach Mario Gomez probably found Persib a bit of a culture shock after his trophy laden spell in Malaysia but slowly he is putting together a team built a round a core of Persib veterans and an exciting forward line that mixes Argentine flair with Chadian flair.
Ezechiel N'Douasel joined Persib for the second half of last season managing just four goals in his 14 Liga 1 games. Gomez however must have seen something he liked in the 30 year old striker as he didn't hesitate to keep him on for the 2018.
For a striker partner Gomez tapped into his knowledge of the game back in his homeland and recruited Jonathon Bauman, a 27 year old forward who played in Greece last season.
Despite some familiar faces in the middle of the field Persib started the season slowly. They failed to qualify from their group in the President Cup, finishing third and scoring a single goal in their three games and carried their struggles into the Liga 1 season, drawing their first game of the season at home to PS Tira 1-1 after the visitors equalised deep into injury time, Ezechiel scoring for the Maung Bandung in the first half.
Next up for Persib was an away game in Palembang and despite Ezechiel scoring again Gomez's team were left licking their wounds again as they lost 3-1. It wasn't until the third game of the season that Persib secured their first win of the season when they defeated Mitra Kukar 2-0 at Gelora Api Bandung Stadium. This time Ezechiel failed to get on the scoresheet but his partner Bauman did, opening the scoring early in the second half before Oh In-Kyun made it two on the hour mark.
Despite the poor start the Persib supporters were keeping the faith, more than 32,000 saw the game with Mitra Kukar, a club not blessed with stardust. However any hopes a corner had been turned were soon dashed when Persib could only draw 2-2 away at Arema despite a brace from Ezechiel in a game marred by serious crowd disorder.
If there was any consolation for Gomez it would have come from the form of Ezechiel, four goals in four games but late goals against PS Tira and Arema had cost the club four goals.
Persib returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Borneo on their own patch and again Ezechiel bagged a brace with Bauman netting the other. With a fully functioning strike partnership Gomez surely could look forward to guiding Persib up the table. Unfortunately Persib's away doay woes continued in their next game, losing 2-1 away to Madura United with Bauman scoring a late consolation.
With the game away to Persebaya postponed in the wake of the terrorist atrocities there Gomez could look forward to back to back home games and with his forwards now in full flow luxuriated in two victories against tough opposition (Persipura 2-0 and PSM 3-0) and just as crucially two blank sheets.
Thanks to the tightness of the Liga 1 table I referenced earlier Persib are now 6th in the table and should they win their next game they could go joint top of the table. The Bobotoh won't be getting too excited though; their next opponents are Bali United. Away. And Persib haven't won an away game since last September.
Bali United are having their own problems this season, failing to rediscover the consistency of the 2017 campaign but at least Gomez, and the Bandung faithful, go into the game knowing Ezechiel and Bauman are on fire!
Ezechiel 9 goals in 9 games
Bauman 5 goals in 7 games