Saturday, November 04, 2017


Good 'Evans. Shaun The Meek Leaves Persib Fuming After Disaster Showing

Controversy is never far away when Persija and Persib meet. Earlier in the season fan disorder in Bandung resulted in a Persib fan being beaten to death inside the stadium. Other 'events' in recent years can be found in this post I wrote some 15 months ago. When these two teams meet something invariably happens and I'm not talking about a football match.

It was Persija's turn to host Persib yesterday and Liga 1 decided in their infinite wisdom the game should be played in Solo to minimise the risk of violence. They also decreed Persib fans should not be allowed to travel to the game. Persija fans did of course, in their thousands.

One innovation in Liga 1 this season has been the introduction of foreign referees for some games, the feeling being local refs may not always be the most reliable when it comes to big decisions in high pressure games. Not every one has been in favour of foreign whistleblowers with, perhaps ironically, PSMs Dutch coach Robert Alberts arguing for other measure to clamp down on dodgy decisions by the men in the middle.

So there we have it. Persija hosting Persib in the neutral city of Solo with an Australian referee, Shaun Evans, and no away fans present. Surely this most intense of games should pass off fairly peacably? What on earth could go wrong?

Do not underestimate Indonesian football's ability to take whatthefuckery to new levels. After all this is land of three leagues, two national teams, two players' unions, three Persemas last season and who knows what else over the years?

Early in the first half and Persija's veteran striker Rudi Widodo comes flying in on Persib's tigerish midfield player Kim Kurniawan forcing the German born player to leave the field and head straight to hospital. Remember, we are only a couple of weeks on from burying Persela's keeper Choirul Huda after he was on the receiving end of a much more innocuous one that clattered Kim. The ref gave Rudi a yellow card and Persib were seething.

Before the half hour mark and Persib were positively irate. Chad striker Ezechiel N'Douassel heads the ball in to the ground and rises up over the despairing reach of Persija keeper Andritany and in to the roof of the net. N'Douassel wheels away in triumph, former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essian punches the air in triumph. Persib had taken the lead against their bitterest foe. Or so they thought. The Australian ref says it was no goal! The ball rippled the fucking net! And, interestingly, Bambang Pamungkas, arguably the most respected player in the country, appears to be heading back to the centre circle. He was close enough to see what had happened.

As one the Persib players surrounded the match officials but of course they were not going to change their mind. First they had lost one of their key players, no they had a goal chalked off, the game was less than 30 minutes and things were not going their way. Surely the whole point of having foreign match officials is to assure players and supporters a game is going to be played in a fair and just manner? And here we have two game changing decisions in the first 30 minutes favouring one team over another under the auspices of foreign match officials!

In the second half the ref awarded Persija a penalty and followed that up with giving Persib defender Vladimir Vujovic a red card after giving Bruno Lopes a tug outside the penalty area and that was too much for the visiting team. The straw that broke the camel's back?

It is too early to consider whether the experiment with foreign refs continues but after the Shaun Evans horror show in Solo no doubt questions will be asked. Certainly Persib will have a thing or two to say about it. Suffice to say the Aussie whistler won't be a popular man should he ever venture down in West Java any time soon!

Oh yeah, the game. The result leaves Persija on the cusp of a surprise AFC Cup slot and Persib looking back on a woeful run of one win in 10 games.

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