Southeast Asia Indonesia

Liga 2 to Return on October 17th with A Revamped Format

Indonesia’s second tier league, the Liga 2 Indonesia, is set to resume on October 17th with a brand new, revamped format. All the results from the previous matches played prior to the COVID-19 suspension were expunged and considered null and void, with all 24 teams having to resume their 2020 campaign from scratch. There will be no relegation this year, while the promotion spots were decreased from the usual 3 to just 2.

The 24 Liga 2 teams were divided into 4 groups of 6 teams, playing in a home tournament format that saw one team in each group hosting every match. Three out of the four groups will be played on the island of Sumatra, with Badak Lampung’s Sumpah Pemuda Way Halim Stadium set to host matches of Group A, PSPS Riau’s Kaharudin Nasution Stadium set to host matches of Group C, and PSMS Medan’s Teladan Stadium set to host matches of Group D. Group B, meanwhile, will be hosted at PSCS Cilacap’s Wijayakusuma Stadium in Central Java. Each group will play only five matches – with the 6 teams meeting up against one another only once.

The top two teams of each group will advance to the second round, which saw the eight teams being divided into two groups of four. The winners and runners-up of those groups will advance to the semifinals, before the winners of those matches will be promoted to the 2021 Liga 1 season while at the same time advancing to the league’s final match to decide the Liga 2 champions for the 2020 season.

In adherence with the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, all Liga 2 matches this season will be hold behind closed doors.

League operators PT. Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) conducted the draw to decide which team should play in which group on Tuesday, with the draw being conducted online. The draw produced the following groups:

Group A

  1. Badak Lampung (hosts)
  2. Muba BaBel United
  3. Perserang Serang
  4. PSBS Biak
  5. Persewar Waropen
  6. Cilegon United

Group B

  1. PSCS Cilacap (hosts)
  2. Kalteng Putra
  3. Persiba Balikpapan
  4. PSKC Kota Cimahi
  5. Persis Solo
  6. PS Hizbul Wathan Sidoarjo

Group C

  1. PSPS Riau (hosts)
  2. Mitra Kukar
  3. Putra Sinar Giri Gresik
  4. AA Tiga Naga
  5. PSIM Yogyakarta
  6. Martapura FC

Group D

  1. PSMS Medan (hosts)
  2. Sriwijaya FC
  3. Semen Padang
  4. Sulut United
  5. Persijap Jepara
  6. Persekat Kabupaten Tegal

Immediately the groups threw out some interesting matches. Group A will not only play host to a Papua Derby between PSBS Biak and Persewar Waropen, but also a Banten Derby between Perserang Serang and Cilegon United. A Riau Derby between PSPS Riau and AA Tiga Naga is also on the cards on Group C, while Group D established itself as a group of death right away, with three teams earmarked as promotion favorites – PSMS Medan, Sriwijaya FC, and Semen Padang – going head-to-head against one another in a series of Sumatra Derbies.

However, a match that could be considered as the biggest rivalry clash in the Liga 2 as of late, the Mataram Derby between PSIM Yogyakarta and Persis Solo, will not happen until at least the second round with the two teams being drawn into separate groups.

The 2020 Liga 2 season will be done in a marathon-like manner, kicking-off on October 17th and wrapping up with the final on December 5th – a period of only two months. In the light of this, a number of Liga 2 teams have done some signings during the COVID-19 suspension to ensure that they would do well throughout the brief tournament, such as PSMS bringing in Ferdinand Sinaga from PSM Makassar on loan as well as Paulo Sitanggang on a permanent deal from Persik Kediri and Muba BaBel United drafting in Liga 1 veterans in Airlangga Sucipto, Ichsan Kurniawan, and naturalized Nigerian-born defender Godstime Egwuatu Ouseloka, better known as Olisa.