Football Tribe Indonesia
A clash of titans between Arema FC against PSM Makassar in Malang Regency’s Kanjuruhan Stadium concludes the first day of Liga 1’s Matchweek 22 as the hosts took all three points thanks to a 2-0 victory over Juku Eja who got their third consecutive defeat from their last five matches.
Without Wiljan Pluim in the midfield engine room, PSM relied on the midfield duo of Dutch-Indonesian Rafael Maitimo and soon-to-be naturalized Dutchman Marc Klok to support Ezra Walian and M. Rahmat in the frontlines. Arema, on the other hand, had their fearsome attacking trio of Rivaldi Bauwo, Sylvano Comvalius, and Dedik Setiawan to rely on in terrorizing PSM’s back four.
After a goalless first-half, disaster struck the PSM defense as former Arema player Hasyim Kipuw got his second yellow card in the 54th minute after tackling Rivaldi who was accelerating from the left-wing. Kipuw had just received his first yellow card only two minutes earlier and as the Ambonese player received his marching orders from referee Thoriq Alkatiri, Arema head coach Milomir Šešlija decided to replace Rivaldi with a pair of fresher legs in the form of Ricky Kayame.
Arema broke the deadlock 10 minutes after Kipuw’s dismissal thanks to a pinpoint header from Comvalius, who took full advantage of a skirmish of players in front of Hilman Syah’s goal. Stunned by Singo Edan‘s opener, PSM head coach Darije Kalezić opted for a defensive substitution to shore up the backline that was punctured by Kipuw’s sending off, with Taufik Hidayat taking the place of Ezra.
On the 72nd minute, Arema made their second substitution as 20-year old attacker M. Rafli replaces Dedik. The substitution paid off as seconds afterward as the youngster scored his first league goal for Singo Edan. Taking advantage of an error from the PSM backline, Ridwan Tawainella stole the ball and initiated a rapid counter-attack, sending the ball towards an unmarked Rafli who came running from the left side of the pitch. The Indonesia U-23 starlet finished off the move by performing a low shot with his weakest foot, his left foot, that went through Hilman’s goal.
After the referee blew his whistle for full time, PSM were condemned to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Arema, Singo Edan‘s first league win over Juku Eja in two years. Darije’s men now have three tough home ties to negotiate after this, with rematches against Persipura Jayapura and Arema as well as the replay of the 2018/19 Piala Indonesia final against Persija Jakarta awaiting PSM at the Andi Mattalata Stadium from October 6th. As for Arema, the win brought Singo Edan back into the top five, replacing Persipura who ran out 3-0 winners over title-chasing TIRA-Persikabo in the earlier kick-off at Sidoarjo’s Gelora Delta Stadium.
Mutiara Hitam went in front almost immediately thanks to a quick goal from Rivaldo Todd Ferre after 5 minutes. The loss of Andre Ribeiro, who got sent off after receiving his second yellow card in the 63rd minute did not affect the rampant Persipura as they added two late goals in the last 10 minutes, with Todd Ferre completing his brace in the 83rd minute and Boaz Solossa scoring a penalty in injury time.
There were two games postponed in Matchweek 22 as protests against a controversial penal code throughout Jakarta forces the game between Persija and Persela Lamongan to be postponed, while Persebaya Surabaya were denied a safety permit from the Surabaya police, forcing them to call off Thursday’s game against Borneo FC.
Matchweek 22 also sees Bhayangkara FC returning to their home base of PTIK Stadium in South Jakarta after the stadium’s 7 month long renovations, with promoted PSS Sleman receiving the honor of being the first team to visit the newly reopened stadium. The last day of Matchweek 22 saw three exciting matches – a Sumatran Derby between basement dwellers Semen Padang and Perseru Badak Lampung, a Borneo Derby between Kalteng Putra and Barito Putera that would have ramifications for the two teams’ chances in avoiding relegation, while the titanic clash between Madura United and Persib Bandung will serve as an exciting finale to the matchweek.