Monday, April 06, 2015


ISL Gets New Sponsor For New Season

Finally the much delayed new season is with us and a new name for the Indonesia Super League. Thanks to a sponsorship deal with Qatar National Bank the ISL will henceforth be known as the QNB League and is the first time the league has been sponsored by a non tobacco company.

Champions Persib Bandung opened the defence of their title with a narrow 1-0 victory over Semen Padang in front of a sell out crowd at Si Jalak Harupat Stadium. In fact such was the interest in the game kick off was delayed by 15 minutes due to congestion on the approaches to the stadium.

The game also marked the debut for new striker Ilija Spasojevic, brought in from Pelita Bandung Raya and the new signing quickly won over the faithful with his pass allowing M Ridwan to score the only goal of the game on 18 minutes.

Three times champion Persipura Jayapura got their season off to a winning start as they defeated Persiram Raja Ampat 2-0 at the Mandala Stadium. With striker Boas Solossa injured after taking a knock during Indonesia’s friendly victory against Myanmar, Yohanes Pahabol was drafted in to partner new signing Zulham Zamrun and he responded by netting both goals.

Arema Indonesia and Persija Jakarta shared eight goals in a thrilling, seesaw encounter at Kanjuruhan Stadium witnessed by almost 23,000 fans. Cristian Gonzales gave Arema the lead on 10 minutes only for talismanic striker Bambang Pamungkas, returning to Persija after a two year hiatus, equalising with a penalty on 19 minutes. Ten minutes later Persija took the lead when Bambang scored his second but the joy was shortlived; 60 seconds later Samsul Arif continued where he left off last season with a fine finish from 12 yards.

Arema’s new signing from Persija, Brazilian central defender Fabiano Beltrame, made it 3-1 seven minutes before the break came to allow everyone present to take stock of quite a remarkable game. Bambang completed his hat trick on 75 minutes and with eight minutes on the clock Greg Nwokolo, back at the club for his second spell, made it 4-3 for the visitors. However a penalty in the last minute of injury time was coolly slotted home by Beltrame leaving both sides with a point.

Sriwijaya Palembang had invested heavily pre season and coach Benny Dollo went into the team’s first game of the season boasting a multitude of new attacking options. Goran Ljubojvic was brought in from Singapore’s Balestier Khalsa and Patrich Wanggai from Malaysia’s T Team while Ferdinand Sinaga (Persib) and Titus Bonai (Persipura) were sourced locally.

While Dollo had enjoyed the luxury of a near open cheque book, his counterpart at opponents Pelita Bandung Raya, Dejan Antonic, had enjoyed a much more gruelling pre season with money troubles never far away. Indeed he was forced to part with his marquee signing, Ilija Spasojevic before a ball was even kicked. Ljubojevic scored right on half time to give the home team a slender lead but despite the problems surrounding the club the PBR players stuck in and earned a point when David Laly equalised with 14 minutes on the clock.

It was a fine battling performance from PBR and while Dollo may have been disappointed not to get three points he knows his new strike force are a work in progress.

In other games, Persebaya Surabaya defeated Mitra Kukar 1-0 at Bung Tomo Stadium in Surabaya. Watched by just over 2,000 Dany Saputra’s 15th minute goal was enough for the points in a bad tempered affair that saw seven yellow cards. Gresik United beat newly promoted Pusamania Borneo 2-1 thanks to first half goals from Yusuf Effendi and Riko Simanjuntak.

The well travelled Liberian striker Eric Weeks Lewis scored a consolation for Pusamania but it was too little too late and the home side held on for the points. Barito Putera left it late to grab the points at Surajaya Stadium in East Java but goals from Agi Pratama and TA Mushafri left the hosts Persela Lamongan and their supporters empty handed while Bali United Pusam lost 2-1 to Perseru Seru with Osas Marvellous netting a late winner.

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