Football Tribe Indonesia
The trip to face Binh Duong looked like a formality for Persija, when in the same day Ceres-Negros extended their perfect record on the group stage. Even before the 5th gameday ended, The Busmen already led with 12 points, and Persija could no longer make up the difference.
All hope was not lost, however. Macan Kemayoran actually had a small chance to be the best runner-up to goes through the ASEAN zone semi-final, but Ivan Kolev’s men haven’t put in good performances so far. Four losses in their last four matches have effectively left the side waving a white flag.
Additionally, the hosts had an extra advantage; playing at home stadium in front of thousands of supporters who came out for this prime time show.
Binh Duong started brightly, as naturalized player Dinh Hoang Max looked to make the most of a chance in early minutes with an attack from the right side. In the first 15 minutes, both sides looked for a quick goal and played with high tempo. However, Persija were left on the back foot as Ho Tan Tai and his colleagues pressed them aggressively and have a high defensive line.
Becamex got a good chance in the 16th minutes, but Victor Mansaray’s header was only able to hit the bar. Persija looked for a chance from the counter-attack and were similarly unlucky as Bruno Matos shoot from the left side also cannoned off the woodwork.
Becamex finally took the lead after 37 minutes, as Nguyen Anh Duc received a beautiful long pass and tucked the chance away with a strong right-footed shot to send the ball through the Andritany’s goal.
At the end of the first half, To Van Vu double it for the home side.
Entering the second half two goals down, Persija couldn’t do much better after Wander Luiz scored the third goal for Becamex in the 51st minutes. Ismed Sofyan, the 39-year-old vice-captain, came off for Fitra Ridwan and Toni Sucipto, who now replace Ismed on the right side.
Persija were able to close the gap after Bruno Matos’ goal in the 71st minute, but it doesn’t change the game much. Even with another substitution from both sides, Becamex looked focused on defending and were able to stop the visitors from getting back into the game.
Macan Kemayoran only have 13 days before the new season started, and despite being the reigning champions, they have faced many issues. With this being the side’s 5th continuous loss, the team looks like they have nothing left to lose when they play against Bali United on the 2nd leg of the quarter-final of Piala Indonesia.
This result means that Persija must say goodbye to the Asian competition. There isn’t much time for them to mourn their defeat, as they need to start the league well if they want to return to the competition next year.