Southeast Asia Indonesia

Unfancied PSM Stun Star-Studded Persija

Underdogs PSM Makassar managed to pull off a stunning result in their first outing in the 2021 Menpora Cup. Playing their first Group B match against a star-studded Persija Jakarta side at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Kepanjen, Malang Regency, East Java, the Juku Eja managed to blank the Macan Kemayoran and worked out a well-deserved 2-0 win.

For their Menpora Cup opener, Persija head coach Sudirman deployed his strongest lineup, adorned with star players such as Riko Simanjuntak, Marko Simic, Yann Motta, Marco Motta, Marc Klok, Rezaldi Hehanusa, Andritany Ardhiyasa, and Osvaldo Haay. PSM, on the other hand, would rely on the likes of Patrich Wanggai, Yakob Sayuri, Sutanto Tan and Rasyid Bakri in breaking down their opposition.

Persija managed to fire off the first warning, threatening Hilman Syah in the PSM goal with a chance in the 20th minute. A cross from former Juventus man Motta was unable to reach Simic who couldn’t react to the incoming ball on time, however the ball managed to land in the possession of Osvaldo. The former Persebaya Surabaya man couldn’t get the job done though, as his shot was deflected away by a PSM defender into the side-netting.

Muhammad Rizky then created PSM’s first chance of the match after 26 minutes, however his curling shot was easily deflected away by an alert Andritany. Shortly afterwards, Persija once again had their chance to open the scoring, this time a cross from outside the area by Riko was easily smothered by Hilman before Simic could get his head on the ball.

The Juku Eja of PSM then stunned Persija by opening the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time. Sayuri passed the ball short towards fellow Papua-born player Patrich, who weaved his way through several Persija defenders before the new signing drove home a powerful shot that went past a diving Andritany.

The second half saw Persija going straight on the offensive as they chased for an equalizer. In the 49th minute, an indirect free-kick from Klok was sent into the PSM penalty area, with Motta rising up the highest to head the ball. Unfortunately for the Italian, his header missed its target completely as it flew over the crossbar and landed behind the goal.

Instead of equalizing, Persija saw themselves going two goals down in the 67th minute, after a long ball from Hilman was well-received by Sayuri. A miscommunication between goalkeeper Andritany and former Tanjong Pagar United defender Yann enabled Sayuri to run past the former with the ball before dispatching an easy shot into the empty net, effectively killing off any hopes of a Persija comeback in the process.

Sadly PSM’s victory was marred by a number of anonymous individuals racially abusing Patrich on social media, with the well-traveled forward receiving support from Klok and the Jakmania, Persija’s faithful supporters group, condemning the abuse through a statement issued by the group’s chairman, Diky Budi Ramadhan.

“To all my fellow Jakmania, we shouldn’t direct our disappointment towards our team to our opposition,” Diky said, as quoted from, “Let us convert all of our negativity into positive energy and use that energy to create change and evaluation.”

Group B’s early kick-off, also played at the Kanjuruhan, saw Bhayangkara Solo FC edging out Borneo FC 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Alsan Sanda. Despite losing, Borneo players and staff won plaudits on social media after they had immaculately cleaned the Kanjuruhan Stadium’s changing room after using it, showing a clear sign of respect and courtesy towards Arema FC as the stadium’s original operators.

The 2021 Menpora Cup’s first matchweek continues on Tuesday with the first matches of Group C, with the early kick-off seeing Madura United taking on PS Sleman at the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Soreang, Bandung Regency, West Java, before the later kick-off at the same venue saw an East Java Derby taking place between Persebaya and Persik Kediri.