Southeast Asia Indonesia

Persija’s Loss Heats Up Relegation Battle

Steven Danis

Football Tribe Indonesia


Week 31 of the Liga 1 finished last night and closed with a big clash that ended in a 1-1 draw between the already-crowned champions Bali United and Persipura Jayapura, who are trying to secure the runners-up position. However, the biggest ramifications from this week will be felt at the other end of the table, as a number of results shook up the relegation battle. 

One of them was the loss of last season’s champions, Persija Jakarta, in an away match against Perseru Badak Lampung FC. Laskar Saburai won 2-0, helping them continue to climb slowly from the relegation zone, even though they are still stuck in 16th position with 37 points.

Edson Tavares, Persija’s coach, made a few changes to the starting eleven as he benched this season’s top scorer, Marco Simic, and played Heri Susanto alone with support from Riko Simanjuntak on the right and Rahmad Hidayat on the left. Meanwhile, the host played with their best team in a 3-5-2 formation under the guidance of Serbian, Milan Petrovic.

The game ended goalless in the first half as two sides each got two yellow cards to indicate the game was heating up. The catastrophe for Macan Kemayoran came in 54th from a corner kick scheme which was perfectly executed by Persija’s ex-midfielder, Arthur Bonai, and helped Laskar Saburai take the lead in front of their own supporters. 

Ten minutes after, Anthony Golec doubled their lead with a left-footed shot that became the 750th goal in Liga 1 this season. From two goals down Edson Tavares tried to change the game, as he bought on Marko Simic to replace Ramdani Lestaluhu two minutes after the goal. But the presence of the former Croatian youth international didn’t affect the game as the hosts emerged 2-0 winners. 

Meanwhile, another team who now battling to lift themselves from the relegation zone, Persela Lamongan, earned a big 3-1 win in front of their supporters in Surayajaya stadium against this year’s Piala Indonesia champions, PSM Makassar on Saturday. Another Eastern Java who earned a big win was Persebaya Surabaya, who pulled off a 4-0 triumph against Bhayangkara FC on Sunday. Their path wasn’t followed by Arema FC, who were crushed 5-1 at the hands of PSIS Semarang.