PSIS Semarang have taken a good one step closer to the 2021 Menpora Cup quarterfinals after winning their Matchweek 2 game on Thursday. The Mahesa Jenar took charge of Group A after a confident performance against Persikabo 1973 at the Manahan Stadium that saw them win 3-1, with youngsters Farrel Arya and Pratama Arhan as well as experienced midfielder Fandi Eko Utomo among the goals.
Having blown a 3-goal lead in their Matchweek 1 draw with Barito Putera, PSIS found themselves once again going 3-0 up in this match although in a somewhat less-emphatic fashion compared to before. The 3-3 draw with Barito Putera saw PSIS going three goals to the good in the first half, while Thursday’s match against Persikabo saw PSIS finishing the first half with two goals to their name. 18-year old Farrel opened the scoring for the Mahesa Jenar in the 21st minute, latching onto a Fandi through pass before making his way into the Persikabo penalty box and firing off a cannonball that went past the Laskar Padjajaran goalkeeper, Syahrul Fadil.
Farrel, who was quoted to be “nervous before the match,” made a mockery of his anxiety once again in the 26th minute. Displaying the confidence of a player in his prime, Farrel laid the ball off towards Fandi, with the former Persebaya Surabaya man firing off a low drive with his first touch to beat Syahrul once again, doubling PSIS’ advantage.
Persikabo were sub-par throughout the match, with the Laskar Padjajaran players committing a number of errors that enabled PSIS to take full control of the game. Despite their dominance, it was not until the 82nd minute that the Mahesa Jenar finally got themselves their third. Persikabo defender Dava Ramadhan had shoved PSIS midfielder Andreas Ado within the penalty area, leaving the referee no choice but to award PSIS with the spot kick. Another PSIS youngster, 19-year old defender Arhan, was tasked in dispatching the penalty and he made no mistakes whatsoever with his assignment, splashing in a cooly-taken shot past Syahrul to make it 3-0 in PSIS’ favor.
Former AFC Tubize player Firza Andika reduced the deficit for Persikabo with a brilliantly-taken free-kick from outside the area in the 89th minute, however it was too little too late as PSIS held on for all three points.
Thursday’s other Group A match saw Barito Putera keeping their quarterfinal hopes alive after the Laskar Antasari had beaten Arema FC 2-1 at the Manahan. Banjarmasin-based Barito raced to a 2-0 lead in the first half through goals from Alif Jaelani and Beni Oktavianto, however Arema threatened a comeback after Feby Eka Putra pulled one back for the Singo Edan in the 54th minute. Bruno Smith had the opportunity of salvaging a point for Arema with a last-minute penalty, however Barito goalkeeper Muhammad Riyandi did well to deny the Brazilian and ensure all three points for Djadjang Nurdjaman’s side.
Matchweek 2 continues on Saturday with action from Group B at the Kanjuruhan Stadium, with PSM Makassar taking on Bhayangkara Solo FC in the early kick-off and Persija Jakarta facing-off against Borneo FC in the late kick-off.