Sunday, April 30, 2006


Semarang vs Jakarta

My first visit to Semarang, I was looking forward to this which just goes to show how naive football fans can be. These two teams have served up 35 goals between them, a goal feast was not on the horizon.

But then I wasn't looking forward to the football. It was the new town, new photo opportnities, new pubs. First against third, Semarang vs Jakarta was as big as they get here and tickets were at a premium. Three hours before kick off and we were parked outside the Jatidiri Stadium. It could have been 1860 Munchen or Everton, not PSIS Semarang, there were touts, vendors, early bird fans just like any football stadium on any football day in any football mad country.

We headed up to the ticket office and received a surprise. They weren't selling tickets to the general public, just to what they called agents. Touts, agents, scalpers, whatever you want to call them, they were thriving here with the blessing of the club. 50000 IDR tickets were being sold for...55000!

Next we needed a gargle so we headed back to town. One great thing about Semarang is the traffic. There isn't any. We parked up next to the Horison Hotel on Simpang Lima and hit Putri Lounge. It was empty, we objected to a Manchester United ster and they served us some beer. It was tempting, sitting in a nice bar necking cold beer, to stay. The game was going to be crap, we knew that, and the beer was very nice, very nice indeed.

But we went. There was a big crowd as we expected included several hundred orange clad Jakmania who had come up from Jakarta. They gave their side great support while the home support, divided into two were less vocal. SNEX, the Semarang Express, behind one goal were pretty silent while the Blue Panthers, along the open side terrace made an effort. But the Jakmania put on a show, their drummers must have sore arms, t e lads round us abused them but hey...give it back.

The first half was crap. Jakarta had a new forward fro Paraguay and played like a tart. He waas yellow carded for pushi thhe ref and noone can have been surprised when he got a red in the second half.

The game improved after the break, Harry of the home team, showed some nice Roberto Carlos touches, but while Semarang had the possession they rarely troubled the keeper. But the Blues' persistance finally paid off in the dying minutes when they finally breached Jakarta's stubborn rearguard action.

Semaraang are now 4 points clear of both Arema Malang and Jakrta with 2 games in hand on the latter. Victory against Tangerang City on Wednesday would be a massive boost.

Chelsea against Manchester United doesn't seem so appealing now...

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