Southeast Asia Indonesia

Tears, Joy and Flares as Persjia Close In On Liga 1 Title

Steven Danis

Football Tribe Indonesia


PSM Makassar and Persija Jakarta secured their tickets to Asian competitions over the weekend, and will wait to see whether they qualify for the AFC Champions League qualification stage or the AFC Cup group stage. The rivalry between two historical clubs has become even more intense due to this season’s title race. 

However, the heat not only felt on the top of the league. Meanwhile PSM and Persija are battling it out for the title, four clubs have a fierce fight on their hands to survive relegation. With three sides going down next sear. Sriwijaya FC hosted Mitra Kutai Kartanegara in the opening match of  Gameweek 33, and the 3-1 win for the home side meant that both are level on points going into the final day, sitting in 14th and 15th respectively. 

Barito Putera and Persela Lamongan have their final home games against Borneo FC and Persib Bandung respectively. Barito Putera won the Kalimantan Derby against Borneo FC with a single goal, courtest of Samsul Arif in 83rd minute, while Persela only managed a 1-1 tie against Maung Bandung in the Surajaya Stadium, Lamongan.

The two Papuan clubs had very different fortunes during this gameweek. While Perseru Serui managed a 2-0 victory over Madura United, four time champions Persipura Jayapura fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of PSIS Semarang. The biggest scoreline of the weekend came from the Teladan Stadium, where 17th place PSMS Medan managed a 4-0 victory over Persebaya Surabaya, ending a run of four wins in five games for the visitors. Ayam Kinantan ended Persebaya four win streak on their last five games, while PS TIRA narrowly loss by Arema FC 1-0.

This Wednesday, PSMS Medan will play their rescheduled match against PS TIRA, who narrowly lost to Arema FC over the weekend.  Both sides needs a win to avoid relegation, especially as PS TIRA find themselves in an incredibly difficult position. The Army now sit on the bottom of the league with 36 points.

Lastly, title contenders Persija Jakarta had a tough trip to Bali United, while their rivals PSM Makassar hosted Bhayangkara FC.

Persija were welcomed by many red flares burned by Semeton Dewata, Bali United’s fans, but managed to win despite the ferocius atmosphere. The match were stopped three times, once in the first half and twice in the second, as smoke filled the stadium and created poor conditions for the players. The peak of the drama came when referee Djumadi Effendi stopped the game after just 82 minutes. Persija ultimately ran out 2-1 winners, with the help of a controversial penalty as well. 

While in Jakarta, Bhayangkara FC succeeded in pleasing Persija fans, as they held PSM Makassar to a 0-0 draw. The result was a highly consequential one, and The Maczman, PSM’s fans, were briefly throwing bottles on the field due some controversial judgement from the referee. Cries of “Mafia… Mafia…” rang out among sections of the away supporters, but the home fans, with Persija Jakarta fans among them, replied “Juara… Juara…” – which means “champions” in Bahasa Indonesia – shortly after the final whistle had blown.