Both Persib Bandung and Bali United played out an entertaining 1-1 draw to conclude Matchweek 1 of the 2021 Menpora Cup on Wednesday at the Maguwoharjo Stadium in Sleman, Special Region of Yogyakarta, with Persib’s Frets Butuan scoring an 89th minute equalizer to thwart Bali United’s aspirations of taking early control of Group D. Despite playing out a stalemate, the two sides managed to entertain their supporters who were watching the match at home with chances aplenty and an exciting brand of football on display at the Maguwoharjo pitch.
After a goalless but entertaining first half that saw Persib striker Ferdinand Sinaga almost putting himself in the scoresheet – with the journeyman taking advantage of Bali United goalkeeper Wawan Hendrawan flapping the ball towards him only for the resulting shot to hit the goalpost – Bali United managed to take the lead in the 52nd minute. A skirmish in front of the Persib goal led to Brazilian defender Willian Pacheco rising up the highest to greet a cross from the left flank with a powerful header, with Persib goalkeeper I Made Wirawan powerless to stop the ball from going into his goal.
Unfortunately for the Serdadu Tridatu, three minutes after Pacheco’s goal they found themselves playing with 10 men after right-back I Made Andhika Wijaya was sent off after receiving his second yellow card. The 24-year old, who had already been booked in the 48th minute for a foul on Esteban Vizcarra, was given his marching orders by the referee after he had improperly tackled Febri Hariyadi.
With the numbers advantage now theirs, Persib started to force Bali United into their own half as the Maung Bandung took command of the match, having been on the back foot prior to Andhika’s red card. However, it took Persib until the 89th minute to draw the scoreline level, with Frets taking good advantage of a skirmish in front of Wawan’s goal to slot home past the veteran goalkeeper from close-range.
No further goals were scored in the remainder of the match and both Bali United and Persib were forced to share the spoils with the 1-1 draw. The result meant that the two sides are currently second and third respectively in Group D, following an Assanur Rijal hat-trick earning group leaders Persiraja Banda Aceh a comprehensive 3-1 win over last-placed Persita Tangerang in the early kick-off.
Matchweek 2 of the Menpora Cup will commence on Thursday as attention is shifted back to Group A, with Persikabo 1973 taking on PSIS Semarang in the early kick-off at the Manahan Stadium, before the late game saw Barito Putera taking on Arema FC.