Southeast Asia Indonesia

Bali United Take On Leaders TIRA-Persikabo While Arema Face Persebaya

Steven Danis

Football Tribe Indonesia


Two days before all Indonesians celebrate the 74th anniversary of the Independence, there will be two big matches held in the 2019 Liga 1 this Thursday. In the afternoon, the “East Java Super Derby” between Arema FC against Persebaya Surabaya will be held in Kanjuruhan stadium at 15.30 while three hours later, the two teams who are sitting on the top of the table, PS TIRA-Persikabo and Bali United, will have a serious battle for this season’s title race in Pakansari stadium.

East Java is one of the biggest provinces in Indonesia, many famous clubs established here. This season there are four clubs from the East Java competing in the top division – Madura United, Persela Lamongan, Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya.

The latter two clubs are the most famous Eastern Java clubs, and both have a unique history as one of the most successful clubs, but they also have some dark memories from when Indonesia had a crisis with the dualism in the league. The situation of the match between both clubs that may have a similar level to the Argentinian Superclasico derby between Boca Juniors and River Plate, because of the fanaticism of their supporters, Aremania and Bonek, which almost ended with a riot every time they met.

Playing at home in Kanjuruhan, Arema is committed to giving the best results to their fans to celebrate the club’s 32nd anniversary, which occurred four days ago. The management also introduced the new in-house apparel which will be worn by Makan Konate and his colleagues for the rest of this season after management terminated the contract of the previous kit suppliers. 

Arema themselves now sit 6th position with 19 points and just one point ahead of Persebaya, but both clubs are searching for a good performance as the home side were recently beaten by newly promoted club Kalteng Putra 4-2 while the visitors held Madura United to a 2-2 last Saturday. As the away, team Bajol Ijo are not in a good condition after coach Djadjang Nurdjaman fired after last weeks match, leaving assistant manager and club legend Bejo Sugiantoro to take over his position. Due the safety for all players and staffs, Persebaya also doesn’t had a chance to take a field test and training in Kanjuruhan.

The duel between two Sriwijaya FC ex-players, Makan Konate for Arema and Manuchekhr Dzhalilov for Persebaya will be interesting. They hold the key of success for both side to winning this game. Konate has collected 8 goals and 3 assists for Arema so far while Manu may have only scored one for himself but has set up four for his teammates. 


New Year, New Champions?

PS TIRA-Persikabo, who undefeated in 13 matches so far, will meet Bali United at the Pakansari Stadium. Laskar Padjajaran are leading the league with 29 points but are only one point behind Serdadu Tridatu, meaning we can expect a tight match between these two sides. For Stefano Cugurra, the Brazilian mastermind that last year won the league with Persija Jakarta, a victory for his Bali United side could help him become the first coach to win back to back trophies with different clubs in Indonesian football history.

But his rival is not just any normal guy, he’s Rahmad Darmawan – a top and respected figure with vast experience who has given Persipura Jayapura, Sriwijaya FC and even the national senior and U-23 teams plenty of silverware and sweet memories sweet. What he’s done today with PS TIRA-Persikabo is excellent, as majority players have an army background just as he does.

Bali United already had a good performance as they earned full points in four consecutive matches. Last week, they crushed Semen Padang 4-1 and extended Kabau Sirah poor run of results, while their opponents come into this game fresh off of dispatching Barito Putera 4-2. 

The home side tonight had a little anecdote that they’re never earned full points against big-name sides like Persib Bandung, PSM Makassar, Persebaya Surabaya, and Madura United. They managed wins against Arema FC and Persija Jakarta, and surprisingly they did it in an away games, but have shown their tendency to struggle when the stakes are high.