Southeast Asia Indonesia

Indonesian Liga 1 Notes From Week 1 – Debutants Party

Steven Danis

Football Tribe Indonesia


The long wait for the new season of Liga Indonesia has finally paid off in the third week of May. Running from last Wednesday until Monday night, the first game week of 2019 Liga 1 has finally ended. Here I present for the readers, the 2019 Liga 1 – Notes From Week 1.

The title “Debutants’ Party” looks perfect to start the new season, which began at the Maguwoharjo International Stadium in Yogyakarta last Wednesday as newly promoted side PSS Sleman won 3-1 against one of the big names in the league, Arema FC.

Super Elja managed to beat the side that recently won the Piala Presiden pre-season tournament just weeks before the start of the season. Iraqi-Argentinian midfielder, Brian Ferreira, become the first scorer of the league and helped the 2018 Liga 2 champions take the lead just two minutes after kickoff. 

The game was drawn level by Sylvano Comvalius in the 29th minute, but two goals from Yevhen Bokhasvili and Rangga Muslim sealed the victory and stopped Singo Edan’s roaring.

PSS’s victorious start was continued the next day by another promoted team, Kalteng Putra. Goals from Ferry Pahabol and Rafael Bonfim earned a 1-2 winning over PSIS Semarang, who became one of only two home sides who failed to pick up any points in the first game week.

On the same day, Bali United won their clash against Persebaya Surabaya. The first draw of the season also happened in Samarinda when Bhayangkara FC’s new striker, Ramiro Fergonzi, scored a goal to steal Borneo FC’s win on the last seconds of the game.

Another host who failed to collect points in front of their own supporters is Persela Lamongan. Laskar Joko Tingkir faced a big 1-5 defeat against Madura United last Friday. Two goals from Beto Goncalves and one each from Aleksandar Rakic, Greg Nwokolo and Slamet Nurcahyo took Laskar Sapeh Kerrab to the league summit. 

While Beto Goncalves quickly established himself as a serious contender for the top scorer’s list, two players from West Java sides Persib Bandung and PS TIRA-Persikabo looked keen to follow him. Artur Gevorkyan and Ciro Alves both scored two in their games against Persipura Jayapura and Perseru Serui respectively. 

The first game week was closed by Indonesia’s two representatives in the Asian continental competition this season. The 2018 Liga 1 champions, Persija Jakarta, earned a draw against Barito Putera, while PSM Makassar earned a narrow win against promoted side Semen Padang through Zulham Zamrun’s goal in the 23rd minutes. 

Uniquely from 27 goals scored in the first game week of 2019 Liga 1, ten of them were scored by foreign players, which had their debut season played in Indonesia. Rangga Muslim also recorded his first goal in the top-tier of Indonesian football.

Unfortunately, not all debutants had a party on the first game week, as seen by Alex dos Santos, the new striker of Persela Lamongan. Alex netted the equalizer against Madura United, but was sent off by the referee in the 60th minutes after getting a second yellow card as he fouled another Brazilian, Jaimerson Xavier.


A Stain Left Behind

There’s a stain left behind in the first game week of 2019 Liga 1, and it happened at the kick-off day of the competition itself on Wednesday the 15th in Maguwoharjo International Stadium. Attended by several PSSI elite, the situation suddenly became serious when some Arema staged a protest from the tribune.

The anger of Singo Edan’s loyal supporters triggered by some controversial call made by referee Yudi Nurcahya. Even Milomir Seslija, Arema’s coach, said on the press-con that his team suffered as two golden chances were called offside and several fouls aginst Arema players were not counted.

The referee’s bad leadership meant that the match was stopped after an hour. Beside the supporters throw several things into the pitch PSSI General Secretary, Ratu Tisha, was reportedly injured in the middle of the chaotic situation between two sides of the supporters.

The PSSI Disciplinary Committee released a 4-match banned for PSS Sleman to close their southern tribune and were fined 200 million rupiahs ($13,800 USD). Meanwhile, the away team, Arema, got a 75 million rupiah fine ($5,175) for their supporters’ bad behavior too. I hope that this bad note from week 1 will not happen again in the next game week, which starts tonight.

Unfortunately, the West Java derby between Persib against TIRA-Persikabo, which scheduled on Thursday, will be postponed because the match doesn’t get permission from Bandung police department. The league operator PT announced that the game would be rescheduled until Tuesday the 18th June, planned with consideration towards security factors as well as the current political situation in Indonesia.


Looking Ahead

Apart from that postponed match, the schedule of the second game week remains unchanged. The two big matches that will be interesting to watch will be Bali United against Bhayangkara FC tonight, and the re-match of 2018 Liga 2 final match between PSS Sleman against Semen Padang next Saturday. Both matches kick off at 8.30 PM (GMT+7) and can be watched by the overseas audience at Indosiar channel at