Southeast Asia Indonesia

Bhayangkara FC win Indonesia’s Liga 1 title amid controversy

Bhayangkara FC have won the Indonesian Liga 1 title after beating hosts Madura United 3-1 at Pamekasan Stadium on Wednesday.

Naturalised-striker Ilija Spasojevic was the hero for Bhayangkara with his hat-trick in the game which was played behind closed doors following Madura United’s sanction.

Three red cards for Madura United including their marquee player, former Nigerian international Peter Odemwingie made the hosts hardly fought back.

This is the first league title in Bhayangkara’s history, since the police-backed club were founded 14 months ago to compete in the top-tier.

However, head coach Simon McMenemy and his team are still waiting their recognition as the new champions as the league operators and Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) have not officially confirmed their achievement.

The confusion began on Wednesday morning, couple hours before the game, after Bhayangkara had been awarded a 3-0 win from last Friday’s 1-1 draw with Mitra Kukar, who were penalised for fielding an ineligible player.

With the two additional points and three more from the game against Madura United, Bhayangkara moved to the top of table and claimed a three-point lead over previous leaders Bali United.

There is no chance for Bali United to overtake Bhayangkara’s position with only one matchday left in this season as the first differentiating criteria for teams tied on points is head-to-head record.

As this stands, it means that Bhayangkara need to wait to celebrate their title triumph Mitra Kukar have the option of lodging an appeal which may overturn their sanction.