Saturday, October 21, 2017
Successive Bhayangkara Losses Open Up Liga 1 Title Race
Ok so there I was thinking we were settling down to a two horse race in Liga 1 with Bhayangkara slightly edging Bali United. But now we have seen the police backed side lose two games on the spin with Simon McMenemy once again bemoaning the lack of concentration at defending dead balls following their loss againt PSM and with Persipura ominously finding goals and form we are conceivably looking at a five horse race going into the last four games.
1 - Bhayangkara 30 19 2 9 51-36 59
23/10 Madura United v Bhayangkara
27/10 Bhayangkara v Persela
03/11 Mitra Kukar v Bhayangkara
10/11 Bhayangkara v Persija
After an 11 game unbeaten run it looked odds on Bhayangkara were on target for their first ever title but back to back defeats against Barito Putera and PSM has somewhat slowed their title charge. On paper their next game away to Madura United is a real toughie, the island is not an easy place to go to, but they have been banned from playing their next home games at home so perhaps Bhayangkara will find a neutral venue a less intimidating atmosphere. Whatever, Simon McMenemy will be looking to his experienced pros, players like Ilija Spasojevic, Firman Utina and Otavio Dutra, to steady the nerves on the pitch and lead the way for the array of young talent in the squad.
2 - Bali United 30 18 4 8 68-35 58
25/10 Barito Putera v Bali United
30/10 Bali United v Sriwijaya
06/11 PSM v Bali United
12/11 Bali United v Gresik United
If goals win prizes then Bali United are halfway to their first ever title and Dutch striker Sylvano Comvalius has 32 from his 30 games in his debut season in Indonesia. They won't fancy their run in though. Barito Putera have had a massively frustrating season, rarely able to find any consistency but they have managed the double over Bhayangkara and yesterday were the first away team to win at Persiba's new Batakan Stadium. Oh yes, and they must go to Makassar to play a PSM side who have won 13 and drawn one of their 14 home games.
3 - PSM 30 17 7 6 56-33 58
24/10 PSM v Persiba
29/10 Barito Putera v PSM
06/11 PSM v Bali United
12/11 PSM v Madura United
Will it be home sweet home for PSM? It may have to be, like Bali United they won't relish traveling to Banjarmasin to take on Barito Putera where their own coach Jacksen F Thiago knows a thing or two about winning titles.
4 - Persipura 30 16 8 6 58-30 56
22/10 Perseru v Persipura
29/10 Persipura v Arema
04/11 PS TNI v Persipura
12/11 Persipura v Sriwijaya
Only a fool, or someone from another planet, discounts Persipura from the title race. Following a dip in form they have won their last three games and Boas Solossa is back on form after his hat trick against Persija in their last game. Their run in may also be seen as slightly more comfortable than their rivals which could give them an edge and with Addison Alves back in the goals after three in his last three games certainly things seem to be coming together at the right time for the four time champions. And as all Persipura fans know, 2017 is an odd number and their titles have come in 2005, 2008/09, 2010/11 and 2012/13. For a team this experienced a three point disadvantage with four games remaining isn't unsurmountable.