Saturday, March 29, 2014


Messi Guides Persiram's Flying Start

Persiram are one of those teams that perennially operate beneath the radar. No one expects them to do anything except perhaps get relegated.

But at the first break of the ISL season, they are one of only four teams to remain unbeaten (Persija, Persipura and Arema are the others).

Coached by Jaya Hartono, their opening games have seen them win three and draw three, a run that sees them second in the eastern division.

Despite being based in the diving heaven of Raja Ampat, Persiram are playing their homes games at Maguwarharjo Stadium in Sleman, one of the nicest grounds in the country.

Their first home game of the season can't have enthused many in the attendance of 243...drawing 0-0 with Persiba Balikpapan,

Next came the short trip to Bantul, just the other side of Yogyakarta and Messi scored the only goal of the game to earn Persiram the three points in front of a crowd of 7,000.

Persebaya went into the season among the favourites after investing huge amounts of cash on players like Nwokolo and Kenmogne and recruiting Rahmad Darmawan. But humble Persiram soon shut up the Persebaya hardcore support, and I do mean hardcore because only 1,543 turned up at the cavernous Bung Tomo Stadium.

The wonderfully named Errol Ethicus Simunapendi gave the visitors the lead before Nwokolo equalised just short of the hour mark.

They played PSM in Surabaya, two rootless teams going head to head in a stadium distant from their homes. They drew 1-1, Messi with a last minute penalty cancelling out Ponaryo Astaman's spot kick but the crowd was 200!

If the draw against Persebaya didnt make people sit up and take notice then what came next surely did. Ambitious Mitra Kukar defeated 2-0, Messi's third goal of the season while Osas Marvellous netted his first.It was their second home game of the season and the fans must have been impressed by Persiram's start to the campaign...a whopping 247 saw the defeat of the leaders.

The fans' joy must have been short lived. Only 79 bothered watching the next game against Putra Samarinda. The stayaways missed a Messi penalty, seven Persiram players yellow carded and one, Elvis Herawan, sent off.

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Persiram (and Arema) haven't lost a single match in those preseason cup tournaments either (Arema took part in Governors Cup apart from Inter Island Cup) having a very solid defensive line (apart from those high scoring matches in the first stage of IIC in Papua group that Osas Saha was scoring like crazy.
Also Jaya Hartono is not their coach... it's Gomes de Oliveira another Brazilian that speaks Bahasa Indonesia quite well (quite surprised to see his defensive tactics after seeing how Persela was playing under his guidance the previous season).
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