Thursday, July 20, 2006


Semarang v Kediri

I guess if there was one game in the Big 8 I was aaiting for it was this one. Two teams who approach the game in the right manner, who avoid the play acting and the gamesmanship that blights so many games here, who play as teams. They applaud their team mates efforts, they don’t pout if they don’t get any service, they play hard but fair.

They also have some of the League’s more successful imports. Freescoring Gonzalez at Kediri, pony-tailed Ortiz and de Porras at Semarang.

As expected the first half was a tight affair. Gonzalez got his first sniff 30 minutes which he pulled just wide. A couple of minutes later and Kediri took a controversial lead. No qualms about the penalty which IKP saved well from Gonzalez, Harianto was the first to react, nodding home the rebound. Semarang appealed vigorously, claiming he was inside the penalty area when the ball was first kicked but every bugger does that in this league and their pleas fell on deaf ears. 1-0 Kediri.

Semarang seemed to have just two tactics. The dominant Ortiz in the heart of the midfield broke up nascent Kediri breaks with consummate ease and looked to set de Porras free on the break. All too often the nippy forward was caught offside. The alternative was to look for a free kick in a dangerous area and rely on Salisbury to trouble the keeper. Neither was proving successful as time and again de Porras was caught offside. Instead it was a combination of the two, Salisbury’s penetrating long ball from the left found de Porras unmarked in the box and his effort was well saved by the Kediri keeper.

The second half started brightly for Semarang with de Porras looking especially sharp. On 49 minutes he rose well to a quickly taken free kick and Semarang were level.

Christian Gonzalez was looking dangerous at the other end and a minute later a header was straight at IKP. Straight down the other end and again de Porras made the keeper earn his money and from the resulting corner he hit the side netting.

On the hour mark Gonzales had a goal disallowed for offside, replays showed it was a very tight decision but he, and kediri, were just getting in their stride and Ortiz, so preeminent earlier, was struggling to hold back the two tone purple advances. With 10 minutes left the obvious happened. Gonzales raced on to a through ball and it was 2-1 Kediri. Whatever the clichés, this guy is the Robbie Fowler of Indonesian football. Semarang had no answer to him, Maman was booked for karate kicking him but it had no effect because on 87 in a one on one Gonzales settled the match 3-1 and celebrated with his adoring Kediri support. Semarang weren’t finished and a moment later they had a chance cleared off the line but Kediri were safe.

3-1 they won, in the second half after weathering the early Semarang storm they were relentless in going forward and you guessed it was only a matter of time before that man got one on target.

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