Football Tribe Indonesia
After drawing against Becamex Binh Duong in their first home game, Persija Jakarta flew 3,000 kilometers to the Thuwunna stadium to collect full points away from Shan United. The home side also had a poor result on the first game as they lost against Filipino side Ceres-Negros.
Despite the Shan Warriors’ narrow loss 3-2 against Ceres-Negros, their record in the Myanmar National League will be a source of confidence as they prepare to face the 2018 Liga 1 champions. Until last weekend, Shan United have been in the domestic division’s top three and are yet to register a loss so far. Meanwhile, Persija having a busy pre-season before the league kicks off in May.
But, based on pedigree in the AFC Cup, Persija looked more superior than the winner of the 2017 MNL. While Persija have qualified previously for the intermediate stage or the ASEAN semi-final, Shan United only managed one win during the group phase. Last season, they met Ceres-Negros again and Home United, who will be the opponents of Persija’s in the intermediate stage, and Boeng Keut Angkor.
Sadly, the hosts 32,000-seated capacity stadium looked nearly empty. The info we got even one day before the game indicated that only 600 tickets were sold. As the first whistle was blown, both teams played in front of a nearly empty stadium.
Persija took advantage from the left side, as Dany Saputra and Hery Susanto looked to intimidate the right flank of Shan United’s defense. Bruno Matos also had several attempts to explore the field from right to left.
But the Indonesian capital side lost focus and conceded a shock goal on the 14th minute, when Japanese midfielder Ryo Nakamura finished after a pass from Yan Naing Oo from the right side of Macan Kemayoran’s defence. One shot, one goal! The Yangon side took the lead.
But Persija looked even more determined after that goal, and managed to register seven attempts in the remainder of the first half. Brazilian playmaker Bruno Matos had a golden chance when his free-kick from nearly 30 meters rattled the bar, but the Indonesian side went back into the dressing room behind.
During the second half, even playing in the 35-degree heat, Persija dominated their host. Their goal finally came in the 66th minutes when the through pass from Heri Susanto met the silky feet on Matos. With his left foot, the Brazilian managed to hit an equalizer.
Ten minutes after Persija hit back, their new French defender Steven Paulle scored his side’s second goal after finding the net from a corner kick. After going behind, Shan United coach Min Thu U changed several players and attacked more and more, only to Shahar Ginanjar’s goal post.
But now, it’s was time for Persija to take advantage from a counter-attack, just like their hosts did during the first half. Bruno Matos, free from an offside position received a pass from Rohit Chand before finding the Shan United net once again with his left foot to complete the 3-1 win for Persjia.
Persija may have trailed for most of the first half, but they fought back and get all three points and dominated the game until the final whistle blown, with 55% ball possession, 17 chances with six of on target. Meanwhile, the hosts only managed a single shot on target, which happened to find Macan Kemayoran’s net.
For a while, Persija were left leading Group G, waiting for the result of the game between Becamex Binh Duong and Ceres. In the next matchday, the Jakarta’s side will fly away to the Paanad stadium in Bacolod to play against Ceres-Negros on April 3rd.