Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Jakarta Globe Column

After what was undoubtedly a disappointing end to the AFC Asian Cup qualifying stage for South East Asian nations, it was back to the bread and butter of league action in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and a big surprise in the Thai Premier League.

Champions Buriram United won the lot last season; Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup. They also reached the quarter finals of the AFC Champions League for good measure.

All that in a season when they had three coaches! Last Saturday, however, saw them held by Ratchburi 0-0 at their New I Mobile Stadium, a draw that allowed perennial rivals Muang Thong United to open up a two point lead as they overcame TOT 3-0. Teerasil Dangda gave the visitors the lead on 47 minutes before adding a second on 89 minutes. Muang Thong put some shine on the result when Mario Gjurovski added the third deep into injury time.

Bangkok Glass are the only other side with a 100% record after the opening two rounds, with defender Jetsadakorn Hemdaeng scoring early in the second half. Big spending Suphanburi find themselves at the bottom of the table after losing 4-2 against BEC Tero making it two defeats on the spin.

In the Malaysia Super League, leaders Terengganu saw their game away to Selangor called off allowing Kelantan and Johor Darul Takszim to overtake them at the top of the table. Kelantan defeated last season’s champions LionsXII in Singapore while Johor Darul Takzim also secured an away win, 2-0 at bottom placed Sime Darby.

During the week, Malaysia Cup winners Pahang announced coach Ron Smith would be leaving the club, citing differences of opinion. The War Elephants seemed to take the announcement in their stride, defeating ATM 4-1 on the east coast.

In the Indonesia Super League, Barito Putera continued their hapless start to the season, losing at home to high flying Persib Bandung. The defeat can only have been compounded by seeing their former striker Djibril Coulibaly score both goals.

The three points takes Persib to second place in the western conference, two points behind leaders Arema who have a game in hand.

Persija Jakarta left it late before salvaging a point at home to Sriwijaya Palembang. More than 21,000 fans saw the away team take the lead through Lancine Kone but Rahmat Affandi scored at the death. With Persija’s move for former West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic striker falling through, they opted for Bosnian Zelimer Terkes to partner Ivan Bosjnak in an experienced Balkan strikeforce. Terkes had a short spell previously with Perak in Malaysia while former Croatian international Bosjnak was with DPMM in last season’s SLeague.

There was a surprise in West Sumatra when Semen Padang lost 1-0 at home to Persita Tangerang, Japanese striker Kenji Adichihara scoring on 28 minutes.

Just one game played in the eastern conference saw Persebaya Surabaya continue their inconsistent start to the campaign, drawing 0-0 at Persiba Balikpapan. Persebaya’s point cements their third place but coach Rahmad Darmawan may well be feeling disappointed as his expensively assembled squad has yet to really gel with three wins from their opening games and just a single point to show from their travels.

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